Short-term extension could be only solution

News AASHTO Journal July 21, 2003
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In the event Congress doesn't pass a full six-year reauthorization of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century by the

In the event Congress doesn't pass a full six-year reauthorization of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century by the Sept. 30 expiration date, there is the likelihood that a temporary stopgap funding measure, or "short bill," for the nation's transportation system.


TEA-21 contains a provision that will halt any reimbursements to the states of federal funding from the Federal Highway Administration in the absence of a reauthorization or action to change the provision.


During a press conference, Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.), a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee said there is a chance Congress will propose a "short bill to get a longer bill." A spokesperson for Tauscher's office said that a short bill could authorize current funding levels to the U.S. Department of Transportation and states for a period of three to six months, passing the matter of a broader six-year reauthorization into Congress in 2004.


"We are currently conducting a survey of the states to document the tremendous impacts on projects and jobs that could occur if we face either a long-term delay in the enactment of reauthorizing legislation or if Congress passes a one- to two-year extension, rather than a six-year bill. It is urgent that congressional leaders make every effort to deliver a new highway and transit bill as soon as possible," said John Horsley, executive director of the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials.


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