House and Senate appropriators have agreed to boost highway spending to a record level in fiscal 2008 and have added $1 billion for deficient bridges across the country, plus $195 million to replace the Minneapolis bridge that collapsed in August. However, a presidential veto of the spending bill is likely.
A Nov. 8 House-Senate conference agreement on 2008 transportation appropriations sets the highway obligation ceiling at $40.2 billion, up 3% from 2007. Conferees also added $1 billion for bridges above that obligation limit and $195 million to construct a new Interstate-35W bridge in Minneapolis.
The measure has $9.65 billion for the Federal Transit Administration, up 7% from 2007. It allots $3.5 billion for Airport Improvement Program construction grants, about even with 2007.
The conference deal still requires full House and Senate approval. Its spending is in line with the versions the House and Senate passed earlier this year. Those bills drew veto warnings from the White House, which said their spending was too high.