Leading Senate Dem: Two-year transportation bill coming

For their part, House Republicans are set to release their framework this week for a surface transportation bill, a measure that is expected to both cover six years and come in significantly under President Obama’s request for transportation funding. The current transportation authorization expires on Sept. 30.

Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is set to brief reporters on bill on Wednesday, with release set for Thursday.

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While the Obama administration has acknowledged the need for spending cuts, it has also said that the country must make what it calls key investments in areas like infrastructure.

At her Wednesday news conference, Boxer also slammed the House GOP’s 2012 budget, saying the proposal largely crafted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) would lead to the loss of almost 500,000 infrastructure-related jobs. 

Boxer’s announcement of a two-year plan comes just weeks after she and three other senators – James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and David Vitter (R-La.) – unveiled a measure that would have spent roughly $339 billion on roads, bridges and public transportation over six years.

The California Democrat said Wednesday that she did not see any major disagreements with her GOP colleagues over the two-year plan, which will not include earmarks. 

“The big decision on the part of the Republicans right now is, do they want to work toward a bipartisan bill,” Boxer said.