Highway bill pulls over for 2004 rest stop
Sep 16, 2004 1:27 PM
Action on the highway bill that has been extended several times since it expired in September 2003 appears to have pulled over for a rest stop in Congress for the rest of this session. At least that's the speculation coming from some in the transportation industry. The latest bill extension expires September 24 for highway construction funding and September 30 for highway-related programs, including those that regulate carriers.
Meanwhile, the negotiations for the bill continue. If no agreement is reached, another extension will have to be approved. "The length of an extension, if necessary, also has not yet been determined," said Steve Hansen, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee communications director. "One of the two will have to be resolved before the session ends."
The current session is scheduled to end October 1.
According to news reports, some members of Congress and others are complaining about the lack of action in the House and Senate that seems stalled by the upcoming 2004 elections. Others are speculating that a special Lame Duck session after the elections may have to handle some of the proposed legislation.
The highway bill, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), is a controversial six-year highway funding proposal. House members 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.
To see a summary of the highway bill, click here.
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