WASHINGTON - The anemic federal highway trust fund and the overall U.S. transportation funding system are in dire need of help from Washington lawmakers, Rep. John L. Mica, R-Fla., said yesterday at a meeting of transportation officials in Florida.

But in a telephone interview following his address, Mica said one commuter rail project in his home state is taking a step forward. Mica said that a Florida commuter rail project has been authorized to receive $30 million in matching federal funds from the Federal Transit Administration. The project has been approved to begin the final design phase, which will allow it to acquire land, equipment and design contracts.

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