Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) is moving ahead with the highway-policy portion of a draft new surface-transportation legislative package.

Boxer said at a March 27 committee hearing on transportation matters that she would discuss the envisioned bill with the rest of the panel's "Big Four" the week of March 31. Those other senators are David Vitter (La.), the committee's top Republican; Thomas Carper (D-Del.), transportation and infrastructure subcommittee chair; and John Barrasso (Wyo.), the subcommittee's top GOP member. Boxer said, "We're going to mark this bill up at the end of April."

Boxer sees "a looming crisis," with the Highway Trust Fund ailing and the current law lapsing on Sept. 30. Michael Lewis, Rhode Island Dept. of Transportation director, told the committee his agency "has been forced to virtually halt its [bid] advertising program for all new highway projects" due to uncertainty in federal funding.