Another transportation bill extension? What a surprise….
March 21, 2012
With little chance of a new federal surface transportation bill getting signed into law before March 31, when the eighth continuing resolution of SAFETEA-LU expires, the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee will introduce a thee-month extension.
It is fair to say we all saw this coming at this point, right?
House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman said the following in a statement:
“Tomorrow, I will introduce a short-term extension through June 30th to ensure continuity of current programs while I and House Republicans continue to work toward a responsible transportation bill that provides long-term certainty, reduces the size of government, eliminates earmarks, and is fully paid for. We continue to believe that linking energy and infrastructure is the responsible thing to do in order to meet our long-term needs.”
Meanwhile, outside of the Beltway, otherwise known as the real world, there really must be a flurry of head shaking at what has truly become an exercise in futility on both sides of the aisle at this point.
As previously pointed out in this space, all one needs to do is look at the facts:
-SAFETEA-LU expired on September 30, 2009;
-the main funding mechanism for the Highway Trust Fund, the gasoline tax, has not been raised since 1993, yet politicians continue to harp on the fact that Americans cannot take on another tax increase at the moment. While that may be true on some level, we are talking about a tax that has not been raised in nearly 20 years. Enough already. If it helps lower costs long-term and helps to keep people working, I am not sure what the problem is, but I digress;
-speaking of funding, the length and financial parameters of the any new bill are and remain a major sticking point. And when we hit the three-year anniversary of SAFETEA-LU expiring, how will Congress dress up that pig? I guess we will just have to wait and see.
You probably know that the Senate signed off on its two-year, $109 billion MAP-21 federal surface transportation bill last week. There are many calls for the House to take that bill up and move things forward. Will that happen? Who knows? In the interest of not repeating myself, which is proving to be challenging given the lack of progress on this front, you can read about it here.
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