Surrounded by what she called “the big four,” Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, announced they have come to terms on the next highway bill.
Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, and Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), ranking member of that subcommittee, joined Boxer behind the podium. Little details of the bill were revealed, only that it is expected to be a six-year measure that maintains formulas for the existing core programs and is fiscally responsible. Vitter said he hopes the bill will make it to the Senate Finance Committee after the next Congressional recess in late April.
“We want to send a strong signal to this country that we have worked to act across party lines before the Highway Trust Fund cannot pay its bills,” said Boxer.
The Highway Trust Fund is expected to dip below the critical $4 billion mark in July, which could slow payments to states for road- and bridge-construction projects.
“We hope this will encourage our colleagues in the House and Senate to be willing to do the tough, heavy lifting and figure out how to pay for it,” said Vitter.