Senate to discuss surface transportation bill

Speakers Thursday will include Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Laborers' International Union of North America President Terrance Sullivan and Oklahoma Transportation Secretary Gary Ridley. Other speakers will include Natural Resources Defense Council Transportation Policy Director Deron Lovaas and American Highway Users Alliance President Greg Cohen.

In advance of Thursday's meeting, transportation advocates in favor of the House GOP approach sought to frame the debate.

"Here are a few pointed questions that immediately come to mind upon reviewing the just-released proposal by the Senate EPW Committee to reauthorize the federal transportation program," Innovation NewsBrief editor Ken Orski wrote in an email to his readers. 

"Will the Senate Finance Committee oblige Sen. Boxer by coming up with a way to pay for her proposed $109 billion bill when the Highway Trust Fund is expected to receive no more than $74 billion over the next two years ($37 billion/year) according to the Congressional Budget Office?" he asked. "How about the Transit and Passenger Rail programs that the Senate Banking and the Senate Commerce committees still have to recommend? How much will those two titles add to the overall price tag of the surface transportation bill?"

Boxer has said it would be better to maximize transportation funding over a short period than shortchange projects that have high start-up costs.