Transportation Funding Update

October 9, 2009

While Congressman James Oberstar pushes to address transportation funding needs as soon as possible, President Obama quietly extended the federal funding measure by 30 days as part of a comprehensive government spending extension.

Meanwhile, speakers at the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals Annual Global Conference voiced pessimism over prospects for Congress voting on a new transportation spending bill by the end of 2009.

Jack Schenendorf, a Washington attorney and former House Transportation Committee staff member, said an 18-month extension actually amounts to a 24 to 30-month extension because a new Congress convening in January 2011 will not pass a bill of this size by the end of March.

The longer Congress delays, Schenendorf said, the better the chances of the debate spilling over into the 2012 general election campaign. Even then, congressional candidates may be afraid to push for a bill because it might involve a call for tax increases that could jeopardize their election prospects, he said.

“Delaying the transportation funding issue for that long is simply unacceptable,” PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner said. “The administration and Congress need to understand that Americans by and large support the refurbishing of our transportation infrastructure, regardless of political party or ideology.”

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