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1,000 days overdue: The clock literally runs out as House negotiators demand extreme provisions

26 Jun 2012 | Posted by | 5 Comments |

Notice something funny about our “count up” clock, ticking off the days since the transportation law expired? It flipped to zero today, because we set it up to count only to 999 days.

Because who would have believed in 2009 that we would be over halfway through 2012 with the prospects of a renewal just as dicey as ever? And now on the cusp of yet another deadline, House leaders are forcing Barbara Boxer and all those who want a transportation bill to accept highly charged and partisan policy positions that would reverse decades of progress or face a shutdown of the federal transportation program.

The irony in all of this is that this is the same House leadership that was unable to pass its own transportation bill, because their own party caucus could not unite behind these radical policies.

However, here we are on the verge of a federal shut down with the same leaders and same stale policy being forced into a bi-partisan bill that passed the Senate with overwhelming support.

Today also marks 56 years since Congress passed the original Federal Highway Act. A lot has happened since then: We built nearly 50,000 miles of major highways, added 143 million in population and migrated en masse to metro areas, so that they account for 80 percent of the populace today.

Apparently, today is also Groundhog Day –  Because if House leaders get their way and Senator Boxer caves to their demands, the policies enacted will take the federal program back to that day in 1956.  We have nearly 70,000 bridges rated structurally deficient; 50,000 people have died walking dangerous roads in the last decade. We need forward thinking policy, not a reversion to the past.

The Senate produced a bi-partisan, forward-looking bill, MAP-21. And while it’s not perfect, MAP-21 is a solid start to improving our nations transportation system and rethinking our national transportation program.

Now the Senate negotiators, Barbara Boxer key among them, need to stand strong against House demands to steer our nation backwards.

We would all rather see a bill that adds some certainty to the program – but not if it wastes money on yesterday’s priorities and allows our roads and bridges to remain unsafe or decay into worse condition.

1,000 days.  You could finish law school in that time, but it only takes a few brief moments to undo decades of progress.

Help us make sure this doesn’t happen.

5 Comments

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  3. James Wong

    5 years ago

    Question: the text of the bill talks about 2% for Transportation Alternatives – is this an increase in funding for things like TE? Or am I reading it wrong (the leagaleze is confusing) on P93, Sec 213 http://www.rules.house.gov/Media/file/PDF_112_2/LegislativeText/CRPT-112hrpt-HR4348.pdf

    • Stephen Lee Davis

      5 years ago

      Not an increase…that’s what TE and Safe Routes and all the walking/biking programs have been consolidated into. And the overall funding goes down from 900 million or so down to somewhere under 500 I believe. We’ll have more details on the blog in the coming week or so.

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