ROADS/BRIDGES: Senate panel submits vague highway bill

Funding formula absent from six-year measure

News May 13, 2014
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Some of the rhetoric is there, but nobody knows how it will all add up.


Led by Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), the Senate submitted a six-year highway bill on May 12 which will slightly increase the current funding level of MAP-21. How to generate the money needed for such a move was not provided.


The goal now is to generate some momentum for the measure, which will be formerly introduced to a full Senate later this week, and figure out the details later. However, some in Congress believe the lack of a funding framework in the proposal will hurt its chances. The House of Representatives has yet to introduce its highway-funding bill.


“These investments will create new jobs, provide a boost to our nation’s economy, and keep us competitive in the global marketplace,” the Senate panel that unveiled the bill said.


Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has been urging Congress to come up with a multiyear highway bill before the Highway Trust Fund reaches a crippling level later this summer. President Barack Obama has been pushing his four-year, $302 billion highway bill over the last few days, but it does not seem like the Senate’s version carries much of a resemblance. If nothing is done by August, the administration said as many as 700,000 jobs would be lost over a year as the Highway Trust Fund starts to reach the point where it cannot pay its bills, and that about 112,000 roadway projects and 5,600 transit projects could be delayed or stopped.

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