House committee Chairman
Young has drafted six-month bill

House and Senate lawmakers are differing over the length of the expected bill that would temporarily extend the federal highway program, says House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Don Young.

The current highway authorization measure--the 1998 Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century--expires on Sept. 30. Authority for new highway funding will lapse on that date unless Congress passes a new bill to continue the program. There has been little progress on a new multiyear successor to TEA-21, prompting lawmakers to turn instead to considering a short extension.


Young, an Alaska Republican, said Sept. 11 that, "There has been a dispute about the extension." He added, "I want six months....I thought the Senate wanted six months. Now all of a sudden yesterday, their leadership said, 'We want five months." Young said that Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-Okla.) "is saying, 'Up to six months.' "

In an appearance at the American Road & Transportation Builders Association's annual meeting, Young said his committee has written a bill to extend the program for six months. He added that shortening the deadline by a month would require going back to get concurrence from the Ways and Means and Budget Committees.

Young noted that he favors a six-month bill because its ending point would coincide with the period next year when a new budget resolution is to be produced. That, he said, would put pressure on Congress to get a multi-year measure passed.

(Photo courtesy of Office of Rep. Don Young)