It appears the Senate is not going to get in the way of the House of Representative’s $10.9 billion highway-funding extension bill which will keep the Highway Trust Fund functional until May 2015. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and others, however, believe Congress as a whole is missing a wide-open opportunity to get a long-term deal completed.
Foxx has been criticizing lawmakers on their lack of political will to pass a multiyear highway bill ever since the House approved the $10.9 billion measure last week.
“Every time they do another short-term extension, they’re just driving another nail into the idea that America’s going to solve our long-term transportation problems,” he said. “If this short-term patch passes, it will not be time to celebrate.”
The Transportation Secretary believes the time is now to pass a meaningful fix for the highway-funding crisis. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, also wants to see a long-term deal struck, and believes the perfect time is after the November election during a lame-duck Congressional session.
The Senate, however, seems satisfied with most of what the House is proposing. A similar deal was passed by the Senate Finance Committee, which uses the same funding mechanisms but adds some tax compliance revenue measures—an amendment that many Republicans will likely oppose.