Federal Bills To Provide Billions For Transportation Working Through Congress

The jobs and defense bills - both of which will provide much needed money for transportation projects while extending the current transportation authorization law (SAFETEA-LU) through Sept. 2010, are working there way to the President's desk.

Highway, Transit, and Amtrak received new revenue thanks to the quick actions of Congress, though the disproportionate amounts for the latter left many reform advocates unhappy.

"(On Dec. 16) the House passed a $636 billion defense spending bill that included a two-month extension of the federal transportation law. Don't count on two months as the final length of an extension though - House members are hedging their bets." [Note - the bill passed the Senate, 88-10, on Dec. 19]

Later today, the House will vote on a separate $174 billion jobs bill. Tucked inside that bill is a longer extension of the 2005 transportation bill that would extend SAFETEA-LU all the way to the end of September 2010."

From NYT: House's Jobs Package Creates Cash,' Room for Real Debate' on Next Highway Bill, Dec. 17.
"The jobs package the House passed yesterday would give $36 billion to the nation's roads and rails -- but that wasn't its only gift to the transportation community.

The legislation, H.R. 2847 (pdf), aka 'The Jobs For Main Street Act' would also extend the current highway and transit law through the end of September 2010, something many in the sector hope will shift lawmakers' attention away from recent clashes over a series of shorter extensions and toward getting down to work on the next full, multiyear bill."

However, transportation reform advocates noted that there is a down side to extending the current bill and patching up the funding stream.

"Short-term measures, based on an outmoded, 1950s-era transportation program, simply are not sufficient to meet the economic challenges of the 21st century," said James Corless, director of Transportation For America."

Thanks to Bart Reed

Full Story: House passes short extension of transportation bill, moves to jobs bill

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