Transport Policy Update: Senate to Pass 6-Month Extension This Week

Before week’s end, the Senate will pass a six-month extension of the
nation’s four-year-old transportation law — setting the stage for
another showdown with the House, where transportation committee
chairman Jim Oberstar remains on the fence about abandoning the push for a new long-term bill before 2010.

13MVC-013L_1.JPGPhoto: USGS.gov

Senate
Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) confirmed yesterday that the upper
chamber would scale back its original plan to delay the next federal
transportation law by 18 months, as was originally proposed by the Obama administration.

A
six-month extension is "expect[ed] to pass," Reid said on the Senate
floor last night. That leaves the ball in Oberstar’s court, with time
running out before the expiration of the one-month reprieve under which state transportation officials are now operating.

If
the Senate can keep its six-month extension within the budgetary
boundaries set by the House "pay-as-you-go" rule, which requires any
new spending to be offset by cuts elsewhere, that may force the hand of
Democrats in the lower chamber.

An early answer from the
House side may well come tomorrow, when Oberstar is scheduled to appear
at a rally sponsored by the construction equipment industry aimed at
drumming up support for passage of a new infrastructure bill before the
end of the year.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Voinovich Joins House Dems in Saying No to Transpo Funding Stopgap

|
Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) allied with House Democrats today. (Photo: UPI) The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will move tomorrow on a White House-backed extension of the four-year-old federal transportation law, but at least one of its members is already opposed. George Voinovich (R-OH) linked arms with House Democratic leaders on the transportation panel […]

Three GOP Senators Ask Reid to Call Up Six-Month Transport Bill Extension

|
The senior Republicans on three of the Senate’s four infrastructure-centric committees today signed onto a letter asking the leaders of Congress’ upper chamber to call up a six-month extension of the 2005 transportation law. Senate environment chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) (Photo: Politics Now) In the letter, Sens. Jim Inhofe (OK), Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX), and […]

Lawmakers Cross Party Lines on Transpo Funding as Debate Rages

|
An 18-month extension of existing transportation law cleared the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee today, but not before spirited debate on a proposal billed as a compromise with House members who remain strongly opposed to the Senate’s stopgap. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), chairman of the Senate environment committee (Photo: Politics Now) The "clean" re-upping of […]