Despite the House passing a second 90-day extension of SAFETEA-LU, top lawmakers from both chambers of Congress will hold a meeting next month in the hopes of hammering out a new multiyear highway bill.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee, announced that the transportation conference committee would come together May 8 to start sorting out differences. The Senate passed a two-year, $109 billion bill earlier this year, but the House failed with its five-year, $260 billion measure and settled on the first of two 90-day extensions just hours before SAFETEA-LU expired on March 30. The Senate had no choice but to go along with the move, which was heavily criticized by Boxer.
The EPW leader, however, remains optimistic that something more long term can be worked out before the end of the year.
“I am sure every member of the conference, Democrat or Republican, House or Senate, understands how critical it is to swiftly pass a comprehensive transportation bill that is a deficit-neutral, reform measure that will preserve or create millions of jobs and thousands of businesses,” Boxer said in a statement.
The Senate has appointed 14 members to the transportation conference committee, with the House sending 33.