Political Posturing Steers Highway-Bill Negotiations Toward Stalemate

House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) suggestion last week of a possible six-month highway bill extension is causing transportation observers concern that a multiyear reauthorization of transportation-infrastructure spending may be out of reach.

A 47-member conference committee has been trying for a month to hammer out compromise between the House and Senate on a bills that would provide transportation funding for at least the next 18 months.

Boehner raised the possibility of what would be a tenth temporary extension of current highway funding in the context of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) trading barbs about the parties' dedication to passing reauthorization legislation.

The current transportation-spending extension expires on June 30, and the next few weeks will tell whether the economic advantages of working under long-term government spending on infrastructure will be trumped by the political advantages of stalling the necessary legislation.

(More on highway politics . . . )

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