WASHINGTON, March 28, 2012 -With just days to go before the federal funding for major highway projects would be shut off and Congress plans to leave town for the two-week Easter recess, the path forward for a new surface transportation bill, HR. 4239, is filled with potholes. House Republicans pulled a short-term extension of the highway bill again late Tuesday, but the bill is expected to come up again later in the week.
House Speaker John Boehner had originally worked for a five-year, $260 billion that he planned to pay for with legislation increasing domestic oil drilling, but he was unable to win support from his GOP caucus. Republicans have also been unwilling to take up the $109 billion, two-year Senate bill, which does not include expanded offshore drilling and approval of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to Texas.
If no action is taken by week's end, the government would have to stop collecting gasoline taxes and cut off the flow of money to workers building hundreds of roads, bridges and other projects – something that neither party wants to see happen in an election year.
Original story printed in March 28, 2012 Agri-Pulse Newsletter.
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