What? Another extension? Really?

| August 19, 2011

This will surprise no one.

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Ca), chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works committee and therefore the key senator in any reauthorization legislation process, is setting up another extension for dear old SAFETEA-LU.

Boxer said she will schedule a markup Sept. 8 on a bill that would extend federal surface transportation authorization for four months, from the current Sept. 30 expiration to Jan. 31, to give Congress enough time to debate and pass a multi-year reauthorization measure. The senator made her announcement in a conference call yesterday with transportation industry groups.
According to call participants from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO.) Boxer also said she would hold a markup Sept. 8 on the two-year reauthorization measure she outlined last month with Sen. James Inhofe, (R-Okla) and ranking minority member of the EPW Committee. Congress returns from summer recess after Labor Day — the Senate on Sept. 6 and the House on Sept. 7.

During Thursday’s call, according to AASHTO, Boxer told stakeholders that the four-month extension will be “clean,” meaning free of any policy changes. It would continue existing funding levels through January. The current levels have been frozen since Fiscal Year 2009, when the last multi-year federal surface transportation authorization law known quaintly as “SAFETEA-LU” expired.

And finally, says AASHTO, Boxer said that if revenue offsets not be agreed upon by the Sept. 8 markup,  committee consideration of the two-year reauthorization bill could be postponed.

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