Obama Calls For "Clean Extension" Of Current Transportation Bill

Recognizing that the overdue transportation reauthorization bill would not pass Congress by Sept. 30, resulting in the expiration of the 18.4 cent gas tax, President Obama called upon Congress to pass a 'clean', extension of undetermined length.

The stakes are enormous. Thousands of current road and transit construction jobs are on the line - similar to the airport construction workers that stopped working when the FAA bill wasn't extended - except this time the stakes are much greater. With major differences between the House and Senate transportation reauthorization bills unlikely to be settled by Sept. 30, Obama asked for the extension to gain time for Congress to agree on a reauthorization bill that was due two years ago.

"While his calls for an extension of the current bill are increasingly in line with the growing realization that there is no possible way of passing a new bill before the September 30 extension, Obama did look beyond the immediate fix. "When Congress is back next week, in addition to passing these clean extensions to prevent any halt on existing work, we're going to have to have a serious conversation in this country about making real, lasting investments in our infrastructure - from better ports to a smarter electric grid, from high-speed internet to high-speed rail."

"His mention of Congress inability to pass a new FAA bill highlighted another reason why significant action on a new bill will be impossible before the end of this month: Congress' most recent extension of the aviation reauthorization expires first, and the chambers will busy themselves fighting over a few million aviation dollars before the September 16 deadline for that bill, before they can get around to arguing about surface transportation."

Thanks to Streetsblog New York City

Full Story: President Obama Pushes Congress For a Clean Extension of Transpo Bill

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Irvin Dawid's picture
Correspondent

How many jobs are at stake if transpo bill not extended?

DC Streetsblog, 9/1, reports: "Across the country, ( Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), chair of the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, say, 1.8 million jobs will be threatened nationwide if the SAFETEA-LU transportation law is allowed to lapse. They say they are working on “a bipartisan proposal to reauthorize surface transportation programs for two years at current funding levels” but they need an extension in the meantime “to allow time to complete work on this legislation.”

It should be noted that the 2-year Boxer/Johnson bill conflicts with Mica's 6-year bill - all the more reason for that 'clean extension'.
Irvin

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