Senate plans swift action on long-delayed transportation bill

Senate Democrats expect to pass a long-delayed surface transportation bill soon after they return to Washington next month.

Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerFeds weigh whether carbon pollution should be measured in highway performance Juan Williams: Dems should not take Latinos for granted Reid faces Sanders supporters' fury at DNC MORE (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, said her colleagues have identified a list of offsets that could be used cover the final $12 billion of the bill’s cost.

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Shortly before Congress left town for the holidays, Boxer told The Hill that Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max BaucusMax BaucusGlover Park Group now lobbying for Lyft Wyden unveils business tax proposal College endowments under scrutiny MORE (D-Mont.) had put together a variety of proposals to push the legislation over the finish line. 

“There’s good progress going on,” she said. “He’s got a list of pay-fors but I’m not going to say what they are.” 

Senators had hoped to pass the $112 billion highway bill before the end of the year but were held up by uncertainty over the final offsets.  

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidKoch network hits Clinton for the first time The Trail 2016: Focus on the Foundation Dear Cory Booker: How's that 'Camden Rising' thing working out? MORE (D-Nev.) told reporters last week the legislation would be among his first priorities in 2012. 

Reid said the transportation bill and the Federal Aviation Administration bill “are paramount in my mind.”

“Very conservative [Sen.] Jim InhofeJames InhofeFeds weigh whether carbon pollution should be measured in highway performance GOP chairman: Kids are ‘brainwashed’ on climate change Feds withdraw lesser prairie-chicken protections MORE [R-Okla.], quite progressive Barbara Boxer have come up with an arrangement to extend this for two years,” Reid said. “A very, very good bill.”

Boxer said she expected Sen. Tim JohnsonTim JohnsonFormer GOP senator endorses Clinton after Orlando shooting Housing groups argue Freddie Mac's loss should spur finance reform On Wall Street, Dem shake-up puts party at crossroads MORE (D-S.D.), chairman of the Banking Committee, to mark up the transit portions of her bill very soon.

Johnson had planned to take up the bill in his committee earlier this month but postponed action.