Senate Dems criticize Boehner for reduced transportation funding in CR bill

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“Instead of persevering the funding levels authorized in MAP-21, this continuing resolution would apply an across–the-board reduction to the funding levels included in MAP-21 that would result in transportation spending levels even lower than those enacted in FY2012, and in certain cases would apply drastic reductions to highway safety programs,” the lawmakers continued. “MAP-21 passed with overwhelmingly bipartisan support, with a vote of 373 to 52 in the House and a vote of 74 to 19 in the Senate, and the commitments made in that bill must be kept.”

The lawmakers added that the $105 billion 2012 transportation bill was “fully paid for” revenue from the 18.4 cents per gallon federal gas tax and a package of fee increases and closing tax loopholes. The measure was supposed to spend approximately $54 billion per year on road and transit projects.

“Not adhering to these levels would ignore the will of Congress and hurt efforts to maintain safe roads and bridges, repair public transportation systems, improve driver safety and help construction workers get back to work,” the Democrats said. 

Boehner's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Senate Democrats' letter. The speaker has said in interviews that the continuing resolution is necessary to prevent a shutdown of the federal government at the end of March.

“The House … will act to extend the continuing resolution through the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30,” he said during an appearance on NBC's “Meet The Press” on Sunday.

“The president … agreed that we should not have any talk of a government shutdown,” Boehner continued. “So I'm hopeful that the House and Senate will be able to work through this.”