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Congressional Conferees Close to a Deal on Federal Highway Bill

Congressional Conferees Close to a Deal on Federal Highway Bill

The House and Senate are moving closer to a deal on the highway and bridge portions of the surface transportation reauthorization bill.  This afternoon, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) and Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) issued a joint statement saying, “the conferees have moved forward a bipartisan, bicameral agreement on a highway reauthorization bill.”  This announcement follows an intense week of negotiations between the House and Senate on how to resolve the major policy differences in the highway portion of the surface transportation bill.  It is believed that the agreement reached deals with project delivery, environmental streamlining, transportation program consolidation and transportation enhancements.

This turn of events in the conference negotiations comes on the heels of the AGC-led Transportation Construction Coalition’s (TCC) radio ad campaign. The TCC targeted the districts of four representatives on the conference committee, encouraging the conferees to complete their work and pass a bill.  In addition, AGC and other transportation stakeholders have consistently communicated with conferees encouraging the two sides to find common ground and negotiate a final bill.

Today’s news represents a giant step forward, but more work lies ahead before the bill can be finalized.  The announcement today does not necessarily cover mass transit, highway safety, or rail portions of the bill, nor does it cover issues outside the transportation field, specifically Keystone XL pipeline and coal ash.  Conceivably, these issues must be resolved prior to a vote on the conference report.  House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said today that he is hopeful a conference report on the bill can be passed by both the House and Senate next week. He also added that House Republicans are still prepared to move a short-term extension if necessary.

AGC encourages our chapters and members to continue contacting their Member of Congress and tell them to complete their work and pass a transportation reauthorization bill.  For more information, go to www.agc.org/roads.

For more information, please contact Sean O’Neill at (202) 547-8892 or oneills@agc.org.

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