House and Senate Begin to Conference Highway Bill

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Amy Toner/NATSO

The committee of lawmakers charged with conferencing the House and Senate versions of the highway transportation reauthorization met for the first time early last week. Negotiating the differences between the Senate-passed S. 1813 and the House bill H.R. 7 is expected to be a lengthy process because lawmakers continue to disagree on the scope of the conference as well as how to fund the long-term transportation policy. 

The Senate had passed its two-year, $109 billion bill. However, the House never voted on its five-year, $260 billion bill after lawmakers determined it did not have enough support to pass due to controversial funding mechanisms, including expanding offshore oil drilling and approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. 

Although the Senate soundly rejected an amendment to S. 1813 seeking to overturn the federal law prohibiting commercial rest areas, H.R. 7 contained a provision that would permit limited commercial activities at rest areas, such as allowing for advertising and sponsorships, and promotion of state tourism.

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This article originally ran in NATSO News Weekly (NNW), NATSO's member only weekly electronic newsletter. NNW is packed with the latest updates on government and business issues affecting the truckstop and travel plaza industry.

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