Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) proposed the amendment and said it would create efficiency and "flexibility" states need to maintain their roads, bridges and highways "back at home."
The highway bill also survived a second attempt by Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) to repair its failure to conform to the summer's Budget Control Act. Corker offered an amendment that would have offset spending for the highway bill by making $11 billion in across-the-board cuts in other areas of discretionary spending.
Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), however, raised a budgetary point of order against the amendment, which was sustained.