The House of Representatives appears ready to consider a ninth extension to SAFETEA-LU.
Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) made the announcement during the Rally for Roads gathering at the Mall in Washington, D.C. on March 20. The length of the extension is not known at this time, but Mica hoped a decision would be made within the next 24 hours.
The Senate passed MAP-21, a two-year highway bill worth $109 billion, last week, and both the White House and Democrats pushed the House to consider it rather than come up with another bill.
The funding bill for the Federal Aviation Administration played out in much the same fashion. The Senate passed its version before the House rolled out an extension. The FAA was then shut down briefly because the Senate did not accept the short-term measure approved by the Republican-dominated chamber.
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) made the passage of a multiyear highway bill a top priority entering 2012, but after the first attempt by the House was met with hard criticism lawmakers have taken a step back.
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chair Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) also was at the Rally for Roads and said it was time for Congress to join together on a transportation bill.
“This is not the time to quibble,” she said. “This is not the time to stall. This is not the time to reinvent the wheel. This is the time to act across party lines together.”