The House and Senate have passed a stopgap 90-day funding extension for the Surface Transportation bill. Votes in both chambers were marked by heated debate over a bi-partisan Senate bill, which would have provided sustained funding, but which ultimately ran aground.
Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio delivered a speech on the House floor Thursday, chastising his colleagues for the jobs states would lose on pending transportation projects.
“I have a list here of seven state DOTs saying 90 day delay will cost jobs. 40,000 jobs in North Carolina. Just give us one vote. Let us vote on the Senate bill which passed. This is not a bipartisan bill,” he said.
DeFazio also supports the Senate version of the bill because it includes a funding provision that’s important to his constituents.
It’s an extension of the so-called county payments: millions of dollars for regions that used to depend heavily on timber revenue from federally-owned forests. Supporters of that bill say they’re optimistic the provision will survive as part of the final draft, if Congress passes the bill.