House Democrats seek vote on Senate Transportation Bill

Earlier today, local officials also called on the House to vote on the bill, which contains elements of Metro’s America Fast Forward program to provide federal loans for large transit project. Here’s the update from Metro’s government relations staff:

Over 80 Democrats are urging Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to bring to the House floor surface transportation legislation similar to the Moving Ahead For Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) bill that was adopted last week by the U.S. Senate by a vote of 74 to 22.

The House version of the bill (H.R.14) is being advanced to highlight the continued failure of the U.S House of Representatives to adopt a surface transportation bill that would replace SAFETEA-LU, which expired in September of 2009. Very shortly, the House is expected to consider legislation that would extend, for the ninth time, America’s surface transportation programs for another 90 days.

The Ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Nick Rahall (D-WV), made the following remarks regarding the effort to bring the Senate transportation bill to the House floor for a vote, “With more than 2.7 million construction and manufacturing workers out of work, enough with the political games. With tens of millions more seeking a better life, it is far past the time to stop the brinkmanship. If Congress does not act, the highway, transit, and safety programs will shut down a week from Saturday, on March 31. Let us seize the moment to move forward, without procedural gimmicks, without partisan political posturing, and do what is right for America. Let us do our jobs so that the American people can go back to theirs. Let us send the Senate bill to the President.”

According to news reports, a spokesman for Speaker John Boehner’s office responded to the Democrats efforts with the following comment, “We have no plan to take up the Senate bill. The Senate bill is flawed. We want to insist, as a priority point, to connect the highway bill with energy production.”