Highway bill inches closer

Rumors of progress trickle out of the House-Senate conference committee

Funding News Various June 26, 2012
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Today marks 1,000 days since the expiration of the latest federal highway and transit authorization bill, SAFETEA-LU, but there has been some progress in negotiations within the House-Senate conference committee assigned to reconcile the differences between the two bodies.

 

“Major bicameral progress has been reported over the past 48 hours on the highway sections of the reauthorization bill,” reported the American Highway Users Alliance. “It appears that resolution (in-principle) of some of the most contentious transportation provisions has occurred, including environmental streamlining and funding formulas.”

 

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the conference committee negotiating a House-Senate compromise, said the committee would be working hard this week to reach an agreement, The Hill reported.

 

The current extension of SAFETEA-LU expires on June 30.

 

American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) President & CEO Pete Ruane today issued the following statement:

 

“Today marks an inauspicious milestone. It has been 1,000 days since the expiration of the last federal highway and transit investment law, known as SAFETEA-LU.

 

“Nevertheless, we are encouraged by the renewed optimism and commitment from conferees and the Congressional leadership about trying to reach agreement on a new law as soon as possible.

 

“While the ball has clearly moved down the field into the ‘red zone’ in recent days, there is still a lot of hard work to be done to get it over the goal line. Our message to Congress is simple: Stay focused and finish the job.

 

“Passing a new highway and transit authorization bill would help provide a necessary spark for the fragile U.S. economy. It would also go a long way toward interjecting market stability for private-sector firms now contemplating hiring and capital-investment decisions.”

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