Friday, June 29, 2012
Congress makes a deal on transportation bill
The U.S. Congress will vote today on a major transportation bill funding compromise that finally solidified this week. As federal transportation funding is scheduled to expire at the end of the month, both the House and Senate are set to vote on the package before adjourning for the July 4 holiday. Approval of the legislation would be a significant achievement for Congress, which has not passed a transportation bill since 2005.
It has taken two years to get to a finalized transportation bill, as House and Senate politicians, worried about election ramifications, approved a number of short-term stopgap funding extensions instead of coming to a compromise.
The bipartisan $109 billion transportation infrastructure bill will fund transportation projects for two years in all 50 states. Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer, who chaired the effort, worked side-by-side with Republican Senator James Inhofe, who wrangled House conservatives to come to an agreement both parties could support.
In the last few days of talks, the Canada-to-Texas Keystone Pipeline, which Republicans tried to push through as a provision of the transportation bill, was taken out of the equation.
Republicans also won some concessions, including streamlining federal reviews of construction projects and allowing states to opt out of the mandate to spend some federal construction monies on bike paths or highway beautification.
Congressional aides predicted the bill would receive "large bipartisan majorities," according to CNN.
For more of the CNN story: www.cnn.com
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