So what’s the latest with the proposed Federal Transportation bill? According to Transportation Issues Daily, the Senate will continue to work on a process for handling proposed amendments to the two-year, $109 billion transportation bill. Some of those amendments are controversial, others aren’t even related to transportation.
House Republican leadership late last week announced two major revisions but its unlikely they can be made in time to get through the legislative process for the full House to act on the bill this week. The revisions are:
1. Removal of the provision to eliminate dedicated funding for transit. It was becoming clear the bill could not pass with that provision, as many suburban Republicans and nearly every Democrat opposed the provision.
2. Reduce the length of the bill from five years. The new length is not yet announced but expected to be close to the Senate’s two-year bill. That will reduce the amount of non-transportation revenue needed to fund the bill, which should appease conservatives troubled by how the five-year bill was funded.
These modifications mean the Senate and House bill become more similar, which makes the odds for enacting a new bill improve somewhat. Even so, many Democrats and environmental groups remain opposed to the House bill due to its provisions on energy exploration, project streamlining, and bicycle-pedestrian funding.