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Did Oberstar Admit There Won’t Be a Transportation Bill This Year?

1:27 PM EDT on September 10, 2009

The short answer: Nope.

A report published this hour suggested that the House transportation committee chairman -- who has repeatedly vowed to pursue a long-term federal bill before existing law expires at the end of this month -- had abandoned the fight.

Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-MN) said an extension of the 2005 transport legislation "is likely," according to the report. But Oberstar, who began his Capitol Hill career as a House aide 46 years ago, is not ready to accede to the White House position on delaying the next bill.

"Oberstar has not endorsed any kind of extension," spokesman Jim Berard told Streetsblog Capitol Hill. "The only extension I've heard him say he'd support at this point in time was a short-term extension, if we were making progress on a bill."

The political reality in Washington, where health care continues to dominate the agenda and few legislative days remain in September, does mean that an extension of some kind is very likely.

Still, Oberstar has not shied away from challenging the Obama administration on its push for an 18-month delay, and his strong standing with House leaders could leave him well-positioned to advocate for a shorter stopgap in the coming days.

Stay tuned...

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