Boxer to tout highway bill in California

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) will tout the approval of the $105 billion highway bill at an event Thursday in Los Angeles.

Boxer, who led the conference committee on the highway bill approved last week, will appear Thursday at an entrance to the Interstate 405 highway in Los Angeles with the city’s mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa (D). The event is meant to highlight the impact the transportation bill will have on a project for the important roadway. 

Both chambers of Congress voted last week to approve the transportation bill, which was the first new road and transit spending appropriated by Congress since 2005. 

Villaraigosa frequently pushed lawmakers to pass the bill, at one point appearing with Boxer at a press conference at the Capitol. 

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Boxer has touted the transportation bill’s approval as a savior of the current system, which funds road and transit projects with revenue collected by the 18.4 cents-per-gallon federal gas tax that was created under former President Dwight Eisenhower. 

“On June 29, 1956 — exactly 56 years ago — President Dwight Eisenhower started us on a path to a national transportation system, and today we saved that system,” Boxer said of the highway bill in a statement after it was approved by lawmakers last week.

“Our bill will save and create about 3 million jobs, provide a boost to the economy by rebuilding our roads and bridges, and make our nation more competitive,” she continued. 

The White House has said President Obama will sign the transportation bill, which also extends federal floor insurance for five years and keeps a 3.4 percent interest rate on federal Stafford student loans for one year, at an event with construction workers and students on Friday.