While the Senate seems determined to pass a highway bill before the summer hits full swing, those in the House of Representatives appear to be waiting in the weeds.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said his comrades are waiting to identify a funding mechanism for a multiyear highway bill, something that is absent from the Senate draft.
Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, has been relatively quiet on the subject of coming up with a replacement to MAP-21, but insiders say when it is time to release a bill it will not reflect the one being drawn up by the Senate.
“It’s my impression that [Shuster] had the intention of making an imprint when he took the [T&I] chairmanship,” Joshua Schank, president of the Eno Center for Transportation in Washington, told The Hill. “I don’t think his goal is just, ‘let’s pass another six years of MAP-21,’ which is basically what [the Senate] is proposing.”
Meanwhile, the Obama administration is out pushing its four-year, $302 billion highway bill. President Barack Obama was at the New NY Bridge site on May 14 and said if a bill were not passed soon in Congress 700,000 jobs would be at risk over the course of the next year. “That’s like the population of Tampa and St. Louis combined,” he said.
The House has not been a complete deadbeat when it comes to funding transportation lately. It recently reached an agreement with the Senate on an $8.2 billion bill for U.S. port and waterways.