700 days since the expiration of the last federal transportation bill and seven short-term extensions later, Congress is poised to pass (drum roll please) another 6-month extension. Yesterday, the House unanimously approved the eighth extension of SAFETEA-LU, which maintains current transportation spending levels through March 2012. Despite Senator Tom Coburn’s determination to eliminate the transportation enhancements program (the main source of funds for pedestrian and cycling projects), observers think there are enough votes in the Senate to oppose his amendment and pass the extension as is.
(To make sure, you can e-mail your senator through Transportation For America’s website.)
Crisis Averted, for Now
Letting the surface transportation bill expire at the end of the month would have spelled disaster for the country and our region. According to analysis by the U.S. Department of Transportation, a lapse in the $51.5 billion in federal funding would put at risk more than 134,000 active road and bridge repair projects and 5,000 transit projects across the country.