House votes on three-month transportation extension

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 3/26/2012

The House of Representatives was scheduled to vote Monday on a temporary extension of surface transportation programs. The action is necessary as Congress faces a deadline and lawmakers continue work on a longer-term authorization bill.

Rep. John Mica, R-FL, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, introduced HR4239, the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012, on Thursday, March 22. He said the bill extends the current program through June 30 and does not make any policy changes.

If Congress fails to pass the short-term extension by Saturday, March 31, project funding would be put on hold and the DOT could face at least a partial shutdown. Congress has faced this scenario eight times since the policy known as SAFETEA-LU expired for the first time in September 2009.

Once the three-month extension is dealt with, House lawmakers will resume work on a longer-term authorization bill to replace SAFETEA-LU. Mica said in a statement that he still believes the House can tie domestic energy production and infrastructure together despite opposition.

The Senate has already passed a SAFETEA-LU replacement bill in the form of a two-year, $109 billion plan, but House leadership declared they would not take up the Senate version. The refusal means the Senate must also act on a temporary extension to buy the two chambers more time to work out a compromise.

OOIDA supports the passage of a long-term transportation reauthorization.

The Association points out that the Senate’s two-year bill still includes a federal mandate for electronic on-board recorders, a provision OOIDA opposes.

On another issue, OOIDA sent out a Call to Action to members to urge House lawmakers to include broker reforms in their version of a longer-term bill.

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