will miss its Sept. 30 deadline to enact a highway and transit funding
bill, a delay states say could cost 90,000 people their jobs and
heap billions of dollars in extra construction costs on states because
of delays, Gannett News Service reported.
House of Representatives and Senate are wrangling over the bill,
which will run over six years. The last highway bill was a $203
billion, six-year measure enacted in 1998. The Senate proposed $311
billion for the new legislation. A House proposal would raise the
gas tax, among other things, to pay for a $375 billion highway bill.
The White House proposed spending $247 billion.
are moving to extend the current funding program several months
while they debate whether to raise the 18.4-cents-per-gallon gas
tax to pay for a significant increase in highway aid.
failure to pass a highway bill is a disservice to the American people,"
said Sen. Max Baucus, D-MT, a member of the Environment and Public
Works Committee, which endorsed a five-month extension Sept. 23.
a five- or six-month extension is going to cost, according to a
survey released this month by the American Association of State
Highway and Transportation Officials. The survey found that states
predicted at least $2.1 billion in increased costs due to delays
and the loss of 90,000 construction-related jobs.
normally awarded this fall will be held until the spring — assuming
Washington passes a six-year bill by then. That will probably force
delays of up to a year because construction schedules could extend
into winter, when little work takes place.