Thus far, the chambers have not only disagreed on the length and amount of the new highway bill, but they also have different mechanisms to pay for it. The House wants to use revenue from increased offshore oil drilling, while the Senate bill relies on more traditional sources of funding such as the highway gas tax.
President Obama is taking a third track, calling in the State of the Union last week for using money saved from reduced defense spending for road projects.
Those differences notwithstanding, Boxer expressed confidence the vastly different paths could be successfully merged. “There's something called a conference committee,” Boxer said, adding that she and Mica “get along very well.”
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood expressed doubts last week that a bill can be passed this year, but Boxer said he “feels a little differently now” after they spoke.
LaHood will speak to the Aero Club of Washington's monthly luncheon Tuesday.