Transportation Reauthorization Moving Forward But Deal Still Looks Unlikely >>

February 24th, 2012

Transportation Reauthorization Moving Forward But Deal Still Looks Unlikely

With the current authorization of transportation programs set to expire March 31st, both the Senate and House have been moving fast to consider their respective transportation reauthorization bills on the floor. The Senate started consideration of their bill the week of February 13th, but quickly got bogged down with over 220 amendments currently filed to the bill. The Senate will resume consideration of the bill the week of February 27th, but without an agreement to limit the number of amendments, the bill will not move to a final vote.

In the House, leadership chose to break up the bill into different parts with separate bills for the reauthorization of transportation programs and the funding of those programs. The House passed the funding portions of the bill during the week of February 13th, but did not get to the consideration of the reauthorization bill. It is expected that the reauthorization bill will be considered the week of February 27th. However, there is some concern that a majority does not support the current bill and that a shorter-term bill may replace the current House version.

Perhaps of even greater concern to the final passage of a transportation reauthorization is the considerable difference between the House and Senate versions of the bill. Not only do the bills differ in terms of years and cost (5 years/$260B in the House vs. 2 years/$109B in the Senate), but they also differ substantially in how the programs are funded.

If Congress is unable to come to agreement on a longer-term reauthorization by the end of March, then they will be forced to once again extend the current authorization.

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