By Robert A. Vella
A bill to extend vital infrastructure spending was approved yesterday by a U.S. Senate panel. The Environment and Public Works Committee passed the measure on a bipartisan vote. It maintains current transportation expenditures for six more years, but the revenue appropriations via the Highway Trust Fund have yet to be determined. That responsibility falls next to the Senate Finance Committee.
Even if the $100 billion funding shortage is solved, the future of the bill remains uncertain. Conservative ideologues within the Republican Party are likely to oppose any federal spending increases in both the Senate and House of Representatives. The GOP can obstruct the bill through procedural tactics in the Senate, and they have majority control of the legislative agenda in the House.
America’s aging and crumbling infrastructure is a serious problem which is hindering economic growth. President Obama has repeatedly stressed the importance of addressing this critical issue, but his Republican opposition has been steadfastly resistant because of its internal political and ideological concerns.
Further reading: Senate Panel Approves 6-Year Highway Bill