Congress again delays highway bill passage
Apr 29, 2004 8:02 AM
The House of Representatives voted April 28 to extend debate for two more months on the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), a controversial six-year highway funding proposal. The House earlier passed a $275 billion plan while the Senate countered with $318 billion. The White House recommended $256 billion, and said that senior advisors would counsel the president to veto the bill, if the final amount is above that.
The April 28 House vote (410-0) makes the third time the legislation has been extended to allow Congress to reach a decision. The decision was necessary to extend highway maintenance, highway safety, motor carrier safety, transit, and other programs as Congress continues to work on the finalization of a new bill.
In addition, the Bush administration earlier noted a section of the House bill that would prohibit states from receiving most of the highway program funds after September 30, 2005, unless a subsequent law is enacted addressing guaranteed rates of return. The administration argued that the section was an attempt to obtain significantly higher funding levels by threatening a shutdown of the highway program next year, and transformed the legislation into a two-year bill rather than funding for six years. A veto also had been threatened if those measures remained in the bill, according to information from the White House Office of Management and Budget.
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