Brief Update on National Transportation Funding
As some of you are aware, the current federal transportation bill, SAFETEA-LU, expired last night at midnight. Over the past two months, the debate had been vacillating between the passage of a new bill and an extension of the old bill. US Representative James Oberstar, Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, was determined to bring a new and updated bill to the House floor for a vote by the end of September, while US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood called for an 18-month extension of the current bill. Since the House of Representatives voted in favor of a 3-month extension of the current bill, transportation officials have been waiting for the Senate’s decision. Unfortunately, the US Senate was unable to pass an extension in time, leaving only one choice: passing an emergency one-month extension.
While this one-month extension will ensure that current transportation operations do not completely stop, it will still mean that states will no longer have access to their share of $8.7 billion in transportation funding. This so-called “recsission” was written into the original bill, and, essentially, it returns money back to the federal government that has not been contractually-obligated. Transportation for America, a coalition that RenewLV is a part of, has posted more information and details about the latest developments on their blog, and I encourage you to read their recent post to learn more about this issue.
Also, if you would like to voice your comments and thoughts related to this matter, post them below or e-mail RenewLV.