Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx urged Congress to focus on both the funding levels and the length of the highway bill as negotiators seek to hash out a multi-year surface transportation program.
Elected officials aim to finalize a conference report by the first week of December and send the multi-year bill to the President’s desk by Dec. 4.
One of the major sticking points among conference negotiators, however, is whether to approve a five-year bill with higher funding levels or a six-year bill that keeps funding levels flat.
Secretary Foxx said a choice between length and funding amount “is a bit of a false choice” and that the United States needs “to have the longest possible bill we could have at the highest funding level we can have."
If Congress fails to pass a highway bill in the days after Thanksgiving it will be forced to pass another short-term extension of surface transportation spending authority.
A group of 40 transportation groups, including the American Trucking Associations and the American Highway Users Alliance, are urging lawmakers to boost the amount of money that is spent on road projects when they conference the bills, even if it requires cutting the number of years covered.
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