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U.S. House Preserves Chance for Timely Highway Funding Action

September 28, 2009

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a three-month extension of the federal transportation funding measure, a move that preserves the possibility that reauthorization of the multi-year funding bill could still be addressed sooner rather than later.

The House action, pushed by Transportation Committee Chair James Oberstar, drew support from a majority of House Republicans as well as most Democrats. The bill now goes to the Senate.

The vote followed, by a day, a news conference by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Trucking Association, National Association of Manufacturers and AAA urging Congress and the Obama administration to enact a multi-year transportation funding bill as soon as possible.

The administration and Senate Democrats say they want to delay reauthorization for 18 months. The highway construction industry and many business and highway user groups believe that such a delay will hurt the chances for a more speedy economic recovery and negate any positive effect from the federal economic stimulus package.

“There is little disagreement that our national highway infrastructure is in horrible shape, and that fixing it is important,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner. “Health care reform and carbon emission legislation are obviously important issues too, but they should not be a reason for delaying transportation funding for 18 months. The fact that a consensus on transportation funding might actually be achievable is the best reason to move that issue forward more quickly.”

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