Funding extension deadline looms

News AGC February 27, 2004
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Several agencies of the U

Several agencies of the U.S. Department of Transportation will be closed March 1 unless the Senate can end an impasse to extending the current highway and mass transit law. The Associated General Contractors of America contends that further delays in passing an extension, much less a six-year highway bill, will cost Americans more time and money.

The extension to TEA-21 funding expires on Sunday, Feb. 29. The Senate overwhelmingly passed a six-year bill, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act earlier this month, but the House only passed a short-term bill. The Senate did not take up the short-term bill until this week, when an unrelated amendment to extend the Sept. 11 commission two additional months was added. The House, which adjourned until March 2, has stated that it will not consider a highway extension with any other legislation attached.

"This situation only exacerbates an already prolonged highway reauthorization process," said AGC CEO Stephen Sandherr. "When the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Transit Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration close on Monday, Americans will be stuck in traffic. The nation's roads, bridges, transit systems and other important infrastructure will suffer which will only delay future economic growth, job creation and improvements in our roads and bridges."

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