Transport Policy Update: Senate to Pass 6-Month Extension This Week

Before week’s end, the Senate will pass a six-month extension of the nation’s four-year-old transportation law — setting the stage for another showdown with the House, where transportation committee chairman Jim Oberstar remains on the fence about abandoning the push for a new long-term bill before 2010.

13MVC-013L_1.JPGPhoto: USGS.gov

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) confirmed yesterday that the upper chamber would scale back its original plan to delay the next federal transportation law by 18 months, as was originally proposed by the Obama administration.

A six-month extension is "expect[ed] to pass," Reid said on the Senate floor last night. That leaves the ball in Oberstar’s court, with time running out before the expiration of the one-month reprieve under which state transportation officials are now operating.

If the Senate can keep its six-month extension within the budgetary boundaries set by the House "pay-as-you-go" rule, which requires any new spending to be offset by cuts elsewhere, that may force the hand of Democrats in the lower chamber.

An early answer from the House side may well come tomorrow, when Oberstar is scheduled to appear at a rally sponsored by the construction equipment industry aimed at drumming up support for passage of a new infrastructure bill before the end of the year.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Bipartisan Support Builds for Six-Month Extension of Current Transpo Law

|
The senior Republicans on three of the Senate’s four infrastructure-centric committees signed a bipartisan letter on Tuesday asking the leaders of Congress’ upper chamber to call up a six-month extension of the 2005 transportation law. Senate environment chairman Barbara Boxer. Photo: Politics Now In the letter, Sens. Jim Inhofe (OK), Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX), and […]

Lawmakers Cross Party Lines on Transpo Funding as Debate Rages

|
An 18-month extension of existing transportation law cleared the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee today, but not before spirited debate on a proposal billed as a compromise with House members who remain strongly opposed to the Senate’s stopgap. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), chairman of the Senate environment committee (Photo: Politics Now) The "clean" re-upping of […]