Extension Looms as Federal Transportation Talks Reach an Impasse

With the House/Senate Conference Committee under pressure to agree to a transportation reauthorization bill, House Speaker John Boehner indicated that if agreement can't be reached by June 31, a 6-month extension (rather than 3 months) is preferable.

The Hill's transportation reporter, Keith Laing reports that "the talks (of the 47-member transportation conference) have appeared to reach an impasse in recent days."

The talks were convened on May 8 after the House passed an additional three-month extension of the 2005 transportation legislation on April 18. With that extension set to begin on July 1 (if the Senate agrees), the Speaker's indication that he preferred a longer extension showed his determination to take a stronger role in the talks which was not appreciated by the chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works and Committee

"I am very disappointed that Speaker Boehner is even talking about a long-term transportation extension, which would lead to the Highway Trust Fund going bankrupt, when all of our efforts must be focused on passing a transportation bill by the June 30th deadline," Senator Boxer said in a statement released by her office.

Laing also reports that Boxer was pleased that a motion by Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) to authorize only enough transportation spending as is taken in by federal fuel taxes was overwhelmingly defeated by the House, calling the motion 'irresponsible'.

"I am very encouraged today (June 8) that the House of Representatives soundly defeated an irresponsible proposal to cut transportation spending by many billions of dollars from current funding levels," Boxer said in a statement released by her office.

Laing notes that the Senate bill (S. 1813 or MAP-21) "has proposed filling the funding gap with a package of tax loopholes and fee increases."

Thanks to AAR Smart Brief

Full Story: Speaker Boehner says he prefers six-month highway bill extension

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Irvin Dawid's picture
Correspondent

The Hill/Transportation: Highway talks on 'Life-Support'

Keith Laing on June 10 reports that the Boehner intervention reported above "is causing transportation observers to worry that a multiyear bill is now out-of-reach." He notes that should agreement on a new bill not be reached, the extension - whether short (three months) or long (six months) would be the tenth extension of SAFETEA-LU.
“I think House GOP, led by (House Majority Leader Eric) Cantor (R-Va), is trying to run out the clock to the fall election and deny Obama a win,” the source told The Hill.

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