On Wednesday the House is scheduled to begin debating a jobs bill authorizing $37.3 billion for transportation, and a separate bill that would extend T-LU for 60 days. The legislative text still isn't available but some of the details have leaked:

1. A separate $75 billion jobs bill, with $37.3 dedicated to transportation
  • $27.5b - Highways (formula distribution similar to ARRA, I think)
  • $8.4b - Transit (formula distribution similar to ARRA, I think)
  • $800m - Amtrak for capital
  • $500m - Airport Improvement Program
  • $100m - Ship Construction subsidies
This bill will likely not be acted on in the Senate until January. If those numbers look familiar, they are very similar to the numbers in the ARRA bill. And if those numbers sound low they are, compared to the numbers thrown around over the last few weeks.

2. A Defense appropriations bill which will contain a 60-day extension of T-LU. This bill is expected to pass before Christmas. Recent ideas for an extension have ranged from 3 months to 18 months, along with proposals to pass a multi-year bill of various lengths.

Peter DeFazio, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Highways and Transit Subcommittee told Congressional Quarterly (sub required) that the House and Senate have made no progress on a longer extension of surface transportation law. The House was ready to accept the Senate’s plan for a six-month extension as long as there was a promise that both chambers would move early next year on a six-year authorization.

Reporter Colby Itkowitz notes this extension would be the third since SAFETEA-LU expired in October, "reflecting a dispute between the House and Senate on how to proceed with transportation authorization. House leaders want to proceed with a six-year authorization, while the Senate backs an administration plan to extend existing law through the midterm elections."

"State highway officials said the stopgap extensions are a problem because they cannot make long-term plans. States will only know how much money they can expect through the end of February, which does not allow them to plan for the spring construction season."

Posted On 12/15/2009 04:57:00 PM by Larry Ehl |

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