Transportation Bill Reauthorization Drama Continues

Article excerpt

Late-night maneuvering on the Senate floor failed to avert a cancellation of $8.7 billion in federal contract authority for state highway dollars before the September 30 expiration of SAFETEA-LU, the nation's transportation law. Earlier, the House and Senate voted on a one-month extension of the current transportation program, leaving state transportation departments without authority to contract for new road, bridge and transit programs.

The one-month stopgap will mean that Congress will need to go back quickly to resolve differences between the House and Senate over how long to extend the current transportation program.

House Transportation Committee Chair James Oberstar (D-Minn.), after earlier insisting that Congress agree to a longterm reauthorization, agreed last week to a three month extension to force lawmakers to deal with transportation funding and keep the current program going.

The reauthorization debate was a major point of discussion for NLC's Transportation, Infrastructure and Services Policy and Advocacy Steering Committee, which met in Washington, D. …