Build America Bonds extension still in limbo

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

News AASHTO June 28, 2010
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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.

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