Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) wants to move a bill authorizing $1 billion for deficient National Highway System bridges and set new inspection requirements. The House passed the bill on July 24 by 367-55. At a Sept. 10 committee hearing, Boxer said she intends “to try and get this bill out as soon as possible.” But few legislative days remain before the Senate adjourns.
The bill would require deficient bridges to be inspected annually, up from twice a year now, and direct certain state inspection officials to be registered engineers. The committee’s top Republican, James Inhofe (Okla.), wants to take up bridge issues in next year’s highway bill reauthorization. State transportation officials don’t like nonfunding provisions of the bill.