Oberstar’s 3-Month Transport Bill Extension Heading to House Floor

A three-month extension of existing federal infrastructure law — which is set to expire in eight days — is headed for a vote in the full House this week, likely as soon as tomorrow, according to a spokesman for transportation committee chairman Jim Oberstar (D-MN).

422093580_050ae3f4c9.jpgHouse transport committee chairman Jim Oberstar (D-MN) (Photo: Bike Portland via Flickr)

Oberstar is preparing to formally introduce his three-month stopgap transport bill later today, spokesman Jim Berard told Streetsblog Capitol Hill. The bill is set to be considered on the House’s "suspensions" calendar, limiting the time for debate and requiring a two-thirds majority for approval.

The House’s decision to press onward with a three-month delay sets up a game of legislative chicken similar to the one that developed in late July, when Oberstar was still standing firm on his vow to produce a new transportation bill before September 30. That impasse ended with the Senate and White House prevailing and the nation’s highway trust fund receiving a $7 billion infusion to keep it solvent until the end of this month.

Will this month’s version end with the House again bowing to the Obama administration’s preference that a new transport bill not be considered until early 2011? Now, as in July, the deck is stacked against the lower chamber of Congress. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business interests are behind Oberstar’s three-month plan, but their lobbying in favor of a gas tax increase has not yet succeeded in rousing a reluctant Congress.

Meanwhile, the American Association of State and Highway Transportation Officials, popularly known as the "road lobby," is concerned largely with averting a cancellation of $8.7 billion in federal funds that would automatically occur if the House and Senate do not reach an agreement by next week.

Stay tuned for more information on Oberstar’s forthcoming extension plan.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Oberstar to Back 3-Month Delay in Transport Bill As Soon As Next Week

|
House transportation committee chairman Jim Oberstar (D-MN) is readying a proposal to extend current infrastructure law by three months — 15 months less than the delay preferred by the White House — and could introduce the legislation as soon as next week, his office said today. House transport committee chairman Jim Oberstar (D-MN) (Photo: Capitol […]

House Voting Today on Transport Law Extension — Or Not?

|
(ed. note: This post has been updated to reflect late-breaking news as of Wednesday afternoon.) House transportation committee chairman Jim Oberstar’s (D-MN) plan for a three-month extension of the 2005 federal infrastructure law, appears on track for a vote this afternoon, despite reports that GOP opposition unexpectedly derailed consideration of the bill. House transport committee […]

A Make-or-Break Week for Transportation Begins on the Hill

|
After weeks of uncertainty and tension, the congressional impasse over long-term transportation funding is headed for resolution this week — but the reprieve may be temporary. A decisive week lies ahead for House transport chairman Jim Oberstar (D-MN). (Photo: Capitol Chatter) When we last left House transportation committee chairman Jim Oberstar (D-MN), he was calling […]

Oberstar Stands Firm on Transportation Bill, Gets Industry Backup

|
In case any doubts remained about his willingness to challenge the White House and the Senate on prompt passage of a long-term infrastructure bill, House transportation committee chairman Jim Oberstar’s (D-MN) op-ed in the Politico Monday should clear them up: House transport committee chairman Jim Oberstar (D-MN). Photo: Capitol Chatter Unfortunately, the administration and some […]