In The Highway Bill, Some Find Road To Riches, Others Hit A Pothole
When Congress completes a five-year transportation bill this week, it will mark the first time in a decade that Americans will be moving forward with a long-lasting plan.
Big infrastructure projects take years to complete, so it's vital to have enduring funding, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said at a press briefing Wednesday. Since 2005, lawmakers have not passed a highway spending bill lasting more than two years.
"If passed, this legislation would be a real step forward for our transportation infrastructure after years of short-term patches," Earnest said. President Obama is expected to sign the bill.
Assuming you occasionally leave your house, your life likely will be affected by this sweeping, $305 billion package, known as the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act, or FAST Act.
The 1,300-page measure, worked out by congressional negotiators, is designed to: free up highway bottlenecks, increase the number of buses and ferries, enhance high-tech information sharing to reduce congestion, and fill a lot of potholes.
But while the impact of the package will be broad, it also will have some specific features reflecting the wins and losses of lobbyists, some of whom have nothing to do with asphalt.
Here are a few of the winners, based on what's tucked inside the massive bill:
And here are some of the losers:
Both the House and Senate already have approved transportation packages, but this final version is the blended result of negotiations involving lawmakers from both parties. Congressional leaders say final passage will come in time to beat Friday's expiration deadline for the existing transportation bill.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told reporters that the package will have "very good majority support."
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