House GOP Plans New 90-day Highway Extension Bill, Allows House to Conference With Senate Legislation

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House GOP leaders this week plan to consider another 90-day extension of surface transportation programs, on the heels of the recently passed extension through June 30, 2012. 

The new legislation would extend existing highway policy and funding programs through Sept. 30.  In addition, the legislation contains provisions to approve the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline that would carry oil sands crude oil from Alberta, Canada, to refineries on the Gulf Coast. It also would create a new Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund to allow the eventual transfer of the BP settlement money to Gulf Coast states.

The new extension would be used by House Republicans as a vehicle to go to conference with the Senate's two-year, $109 billion transportation proposal (S. 1813) that passed in March. S. 1813 contains provisions that seek to limit tolling on existing interstate highways and maintains the prohibition on commercial rest areas. It remains unclear whether rank and file House Republicans will support this latest approach to finalizing a long-term highway transportation bill. Some House members believe that without including any transportation policy changes in the legislation, it will diminish their position during conference negotiations with the Senate.  The House plans to vote on the transportation extension and Keystone Pipeline Bill sometime this week. 

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

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