Sens. Boxer, Inhofe make push for short-term transportation bill extension


“One of the best ways to spur job creation and economic recovery is through infrastructure investment,” Sens. Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerBass raises nearly million since launching LA mayor campaign Harry Reid, political pugilist and longtime Senate majority leader, dies Congress can prevent another Jan. 6 by updating a key elections law MORE (D-Calif.) and James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeOvernight Defense & National Security — White House raises new alarm over Russia Biden sparks confusion, cleanup on Russia-Ukraine remarks Republicans say Mayorkas failed to deliver report on evacuated Afghans MORE (R-Okla.), the chairwoman and ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, respectively, wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Connected Commerce Council - Biden faces reporters as his agenda teeters Biden hits one-year mark in dire straits 'All or nothing' won't bolster American democracy: Reform the filibuster and Electoral Count Act MORE (D) of Nevada and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) of Kentucky.

“That is why a longer-term extension of the surface transportation program is so important to maintaining our nation’s vital bridges, roads, public transportation and other related infrastructure, restoring our economy and creating good jobs for American workers.”

Five senators joined Inhofe and Boxer in signing the letter: Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), Jay RockefellerJohn (Jay) Davison RockefellerDemocrats look to scale back Biden bill to get it passed Humorless politics a sad sign of our times Bottom Line MORE (D-W.Va.), Max BaucusMax Sieben BaucusThe good, bad, and ugly of Tester's Blackfoot-Clearwater Stewardship Act Biden nominates Nicholas Burns as ambassador to China Cryptocurrency industry lobbies Washington for 'regulatory clarity' MORE (D-Mont.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas).

For Boxer and Inhofe, the transportation bill offers an opportunity to come together after recent tension over climate legislation. Inhofe led a boycott of the committee markup of the bill sponsored by Boxer and Sen. John KerryJohn KerryA presidential candidate pledge can right the wrongs of an infamous day Equilibrium/Sustainability — Dam failures cap a year of disasters Four environmental fights to watch in 2022 MORE (D-Mass.) that would cut carbon emissions by 20 percent from 2005 levels by 2020.

Republicans said they wanted a fuller analysis of the bill’s potential costs from the Environmental Protection Agency. Democrats said GOP members just wanted to stall the bill.

Congress has been unable to agree on how to extend the existing highway bill. The House has pushed for a new $500 billion, six-year transportation bill, a big increase over the current authorization.

Boxer, Inhofe and others in the Senate have pushed instead for an 18-month extension of the current transportation legislation. At an impasse, Congress has maintained transportation programs through short-term extensions in continuing resolutions.

“Short-term extensions mean less money is available for states, and do not provide states the certainty they need to keep crucial transportation projects moving forward,” the letter states.

The senators are now pushing for a six-month extension of the current highway bill.

The cooperation between Boxer and Inhofe went beyond roads and bridges. The two were among a bipartisan group of senators that released the Economic Development Revitalization Act of 2009 on Tuesday. The act would reauthorize the Economic Development Administration, which provides development grants to communities with high levels of economic distress, at $500 million per year until 2013.