Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wis.), chairman of the Surface Transportation Subcommittee, said that while he is still hopeful reauthorizing legislation can be enacted by Oct. 1, "odds are dwindling by the day." He said there is likely to be a short-term extension of six months or a year while efforts are made to resolve the impasse on how to fund program increases.
Addressing the National Transportation Public Affairs Workshop in Milwaukee on Sunday, Petri said that he is looking to the states to "help get us over the finish line" by telling lawmakers of the need for a long-term bill. "It's very important to each state DOT to have consistency so you can plan."
Petri said that he believes there is consensus in Congress on the nation's transportation needs and on the belief that transportation infrastructure makes a first-rate economy possible.
"What's not agreed upon is how to pay for the investment people feel is necessary," Petri said. "Do we want stability at the cost of locking in low numbers? I don't think that's a good bargain. So we'll keep trying a few more doors," to attempt to find agreement on funding methods.