February 17, 2012
Senate Resumes Floor Work Feb. 27 on MAP-21
The Senate voted 54-42 this morning to limit debate on a package of committee-approved amendments to a two-year, $109 billion surface transportation reauthorization measure, falling six votes short of the 60 required. Work is expected to continue behind the scenes during next week's recess to reach an agreement limiting amendments, with floor consideration resuming Feb. 27.
Senators voted 85-11 last week to proceed to a full debate on the surface transportation reauthorization legislation, S 1813, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act. (see Feb. 17 AASHTO Journal story)
Progress was slowed this week by the introduction of nongermane amendments including, for example, insurance coverage for birth control, foreign aid to Egypt, and energy development.
AASHTO joined 26 other organizations in a letter to senators Monday urging them to pass S 1813.
"The undersigned organizations are concerned that progress may be impeded if nongermane amendments are offered as part of the deliberations on this bill," the letter states. "The organizations that we represent may hold diverse views on social, energy, and fiscal issues, but we are united in our desire to see immediate action on the Senate's bipartisan highway and transit reauthorization measures."
The House of Representatives is also in the midst of considering a surface transportation reauthorization measure. (see related story) Congress is in recess next week due to Presidents Day.
State DOT officials from across the country will gather in Washington Feb. 27-29 for AASHTO's Washington Briefing. Many of them are scheduling meetings with their congressional delegation.
CRS Report Summarizes House & Senate Reauthorization Bills
The Congressional Research Service published last Friday a report summarizing the surface transportation reauthorization proposals currently being debated by the House and Senate. The document provides brief overviews of legislative provisions related to highways, mass transit, passenger rail, freight transportation, environmental review of projects, highway safety, commercial trucking safety, and financing.
Included in the CRS report are the Congressional Budget Office's Highway Trust Fund projections; proposed apportionments contained in the House and Senate bills; and tables indicating proposed funding levels for transit, Amtrak operating assistance, highway safety grants to states, and truck safety grants to states.
The 28-page report, "Surface Transportation Reauthorization in the 112th Congress: Summary and Sources," is available at bit.ly/CRS021012.
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