Congressional leaders produce draft funding bill

News AASHTO Journal October 31, 2003
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Leaders of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee this week produced a bipartisan draft bill to reauthorize federal

Leaders of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee this week produced a bipartisan draft bill to reauthorize federal highway programs for six years. While the initial provisions add up to a funding level of $221 billion, including research funding, observers anticipate that additional action will boost the bill to the $255 billion approved earlier this year in the Congressional budget resolution.


Many of the provisions of the draft bill, including the title, mirror those in the Bush Administration's "Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act of 2003." However, the bill exceeds the administration's proposed $201 billion highway program, including research and technology.


Although committee leaders initially hoped to proceed to markup on the bill next Wednesday, the markup has now been delayed until Nov. 12.


Sen. Kit Bond, chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, issued a statement saying the bipartisan agreement on the bill achieves two key goals--improving highway safety and creating jobs. Although the draft bill does not yet contain minimum guarantee provisions, Bond's statements indicates that the bill will ensure that states receive a minimum 95 cents on the dollar paid in taxes at the gas pump.


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