From: Brad Stotler NATSO Sent: Tue, Apr 17, 2012 3:46 pm Subject: Highway Bill/Rest Area Commercialization Update
Coalition — Quick Highway Bill/rest area commercialization update – House GOP plans to move another 90-day surface transportation extension, on the heels of the recently passed extension through June 30, 2012. The new legislation would extend existing law through Sept. 30. In addition, the legislation contains provisions to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, and it also would create a new Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund to allow the eventual transfer of the BP settlement money to Gulf Coast states. The new extension would be used by House Republicans as a vehicle to go to conference with the Senate’s two-year, $109 billion transportation proposal (S. 1813) that passed in March.
It seems that the latest is some House GOP members have concern with bringing a “shell” bill to conference with the Senate, because without including any of their policy changes, it could diminish their position during negotiations. Also, a handful of conservative groups have come out against the approach. It now appears that the “clean” surface transportation extension in the House will be amended to add some policy provisions of H.R. 7. The final version of the extension is likely to have a closed rule or restricted rule. While it seems unlikely, we are still monitoring the House version final language to make sure it does not contain language to allow commercialized rest areas.
Director of Government Affairs
NATSO, Representing America’s Travel Plazas and Truckstops
4/17/12 From US Department of Transportation – U.S. Senate OKs $109 billion road-transit funding bill The U.S. Senate Wednesday approved a two-year, $109 billion surface transportation funding bill, the first step to keep money flowing to the nation’s (and Chicago’s) road, bridge and transit needs. (** Note the rest-area commercialization piece was not a part of this bill.)
What’s going to happen in the House is anyone’s guess, though it still looks like Speaker John Boehner has dropped his effort to make roads a higher priority than money for Metra and the Chicago Transit Authority.
The Senate bill will only last two years, but would avoid a funding shutdown at the end of the month.
In a statement, the Regional Transportation Authority hailed the measure for retaining the share of federal gasoline tax revenues that transit gets, as well as boosting to $240 a month the amount of pre-tax income that commuters can use on RTA services.
Mr. Boehner still is trying to line up House votes for a longer, five-year bill. But it has been caught in sharp fighting among urban vs. rural and Tea Party vs. investment-oriented Republicans.
If that bid falls short, Mr. Boehner has said he’ll allow the Senate bill to come up. But it could face hundreds of amendments, so the final outcome of this remains quite uncertain
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