Oberstar to Request $3B Patch for Highway Trust Fund

House transportation committee chairman Jim Oberstar (D-MN) will ask his revenue-minded colleagues on the Ways and Means panel tomorrow to approve $3 billion to keep the nation's highway trust fund afloat until September 30, according to a report in today's CQ.

oberstar.jpgHouse transportation chairman Jim Oberstar (D-MN) (Photo: Jonathan Maus)
Oberstar's proposed patch for the trust fund falls short of the $5 billion to $7 billion that the White House estimates the nation's road programs will need to avoid insolvency before the beginning of October.

But the small size of Oberstar's trust fund fix has a purpose: to give him more time to win support for his six-year, $450 billion transportation bill, which the Obama administration and the Senate want to delay until 2011. Per CQ:

...Oberstar's move underscores the House-Senate split over a transportation reauthorization. Oberstar and House leaders want to move quickly on a long-term bill that would dramatically boost road, bridge, and transit funding and overhaul how it is delivered. And Oberstar doesn't want to do anything that would relieve the pressure to enact such a measure.

Will the administration and the Senate win a quick victory in their push for an extension of current transport law, or will the impasse shift into September?

Whether Ways and Means members agree to Oberstar's scaled-down trust fund patch tomorrow will go a long way towards answering that question.