Enhancements “was a huge problem for us,” said Boxer. “There were moments when we almost threw up our hands.”
Inhofe had wanted to see the enhancements set-aside eliminated, arguing that it diverted funds from projects that his state sees as more pressing, such as bridge repairs.
Boxer, a strong supporter of the enhancements program, worked out a compromise with Inhofe, that keeps the program alive, but allows states to use enhancements money for a broader range of purposes.
Inhofe noted that those newly eligible activities would include work called for by such “unfunded mandates” as endangered-species preservation and accessibility features for the disabled.
In addition, the bill reduces the number of highway programs to about 30, from the current 90.
Highway and transit programs have been operating under a series of extensions since Sept. 30, 2009, when the last multi-year authorization statute expired.