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2009 Transportation Bill

Highway Lobby: Obama DOT’s Transpo Goals ‘Not Appropriate’

2:03 PM EDT on July 2, 2009

The provisions the Obama administration wants to see added to an 18-month extension of current transportation law -- adding up to $310 million for state and local planning -- may look pretty minor to reform-minded voters. But they're a bridge too far for the Washington highway lobby.

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has made its feelings known on the issue of a "down payment" on broader policy changes, as the Obama DOT put it in yesterday's release of transportation policy goals.

In AASHTO's view, Congress should save the highway trust fund from insolvency, and nothing else:

[R]eforms are not appropriate to be considered aspart of legislation to provide interim funding to stabilize the HighwayTrust Fund. Major shifts in transportation policy should be consideredin the comprehensive legislation currently under development in theHouse and Senate authorizing committees and not in legislative measuresto provide interim funding.

If only the group put that level of certainty behind its executive director's recent call for the nation to "grow up and raise taxes" to pay for infrastructure.

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