Build America Bonds extension still in limbo

Senate measure that included state DOT aid fails to win procedural vote

June 28, 2010

An attempt to extend the Build America Bonds program was sidetracked on June 25, and highway industry advocate groups are now scrambling for alternative routes.

Senate Democrats were attempting to win a procedural vote for the tax “extenders” bill, but the move was defeated by a 57-41 count. It was the third time the bill was rejected in a matter of weeks, and the sticking point appears to be cost.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), the lead creator of the measure, has reduced the price from $200 billion down to $110 billion, and claimed that it was already two-thirds paid for through a collection of tax increases Democrats have termed “loophole closers.”

The highway industry carries high stock in the measure. Along with the two-year Build America Bond extension, the bill also carries an additional $521 million in federal-aid highway funds.

In response to this latest defeat, the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials was calling on Congress to pass the Build America Bond extension as a stand-alone bill.

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said that he is now moving on to a different bill that will deal with small business jobs.