Senate transportation plan could cost $339 billion

| 5/27/2011

Based on what Senate leaders are saying, a six-year federal transportation bill could cost about $339 billion to fund – far short of the $556 billion that President Obama has called for.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-CA, chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, shed more light on the multiyear surface transportation authorization bill that she and three colleagues announced on Wednesday, May 25. There’s no bill text yet, but some numbers are emerging.

Based on what Boxer told the press following an announcement that a Senate version of the bill would be introduced soon, funding for transportation would remain at current levels, but “account for inflation.”

By those numbers, transportation programs would get an average of $56.5 billion per year, according to Capitol Hill watchdog publication Transportation Weekly. That projects out to $339 billion over six years.

If those numbers are eventually proposed in the Senate bill, transportation would get far less than the $556 billion estimated by the White House in a “draft bill” obtained by Land Line in late April.

Transportation leaders in the U.S. House have yet to weigh in with a figure in their version still being drafted.

Boxer told the press that her committee hopes to be marking up its version of a transportation bill by July 4. Others involved in that process are Senate EPW Committee ranking Republican James Inhofe of Oklahoma, and Sens. Max Baucus, D-MT, and David Vitter, R-LA, who lead the EPW’s Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee.

See related stories:
Senate version of highway bill in the works
Obama releases ‘draft’ of highway bill