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Washington, March 3, 2016: Congress extends SAFETEA-LU for 86th time. You think?
If Senator Jim Bunning’s standing on the shore trying to hold back the waves act showed us anything it is that the will to create and pass a six-year bill is all but non-existent in key offices in D.C. Despite the rhetoric, which flowed like wedding wine after Bunning stepped aside to let the highway bill be extended on Tuesday night, we’re still hearing talk where we should be seeing action. No one, no one, has yet argued that a six year bill is a bad idea. Our elected representatives say its a good idea. It’s even accepted as something non-partisan because its money goes into highways and bridges. But still we get no closer to it.
We’re not short of Senators who might charitably be called “characters” and one hopes Bunning has stolen their thunder and they will now concentrate on the greater good.
So now we have an extension for 30 days. After that? Hmmm.
In the meantime, according to AASHTO, The House is expected to debate HR 2847 http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d111:HR2847: , a jobs bill amended last week by the Senate to include a 10-month Highway Trust Fund authorization extension, $19.5 billion in additional General Fund revenue to keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent into next year, restoration of highway funding this year to $42 billion from a reduced level of $30 billion, and additional federal support for states and municipalities who want to issue Build America Bonds to finance infrastructure construction.