Next Transportation Bill In The Works, Finally!

SAFETEA-LU, the 2005 surface transportation funding bill, expired two years and seven months ago. Nine extensions later, the House and Senate will sit down and work out its successor in a conference committee after the House passed a tenth extension.

In an unconventional setting, with the Senate having passed a 2-year transportation reauthorization bill (MAP-21 or S.1813) while the House hasn't passed their 5-year bill (HR 7), a House and Senate transportation conference committee will meet May 8 to work out SAFETEA-LU's successor. Keith Laing reports on the preparation for the May 8 meeting.

"I am sure that every member of the conference, Democrat or Republican, House or Senate, understands how critical it is to swiftly pass a comprehensive transportation bill that is a deficit neutral, reform measure that will preserve or create millions of jobs and thousands of businesses," stated Senator Barbara Boxer, chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, who shepherded the Senate's two-year, $109 billion transportation bill through the upper chamber earlier this year.

"Boxer is one of 14 senators who were appointed to the conference committee this week. The House has appointed 33 lawmakers to the highway bill conference committee."

Keith Laing also reports on the request by Congress members Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) and Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.) to raise the speed requirement for funding locomotives from 110 mph to 125 mph for high speed rail in the Senate bill.

"Maintaining the speed of 125 mph ensures that America's passenger railroad system will be more modern, efficient and attractive to riders," the lawmakers wrote in a letter to the conference committee.

Thanks to Association of American RRs: SmartBrief

Full Story: Highway bill conference committee schedules first meeting

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