Wednesday, March 3, 2010

DOT: Back in Business, at least for a few weeks

Late last night (March 2), President Obama signed the "Temporary Extension Act of 2010" into law. Among other things, this legislation extends the SAFETEA-LU highway and transit authorizations to a new deadline of March 28, 2010.

As was widely reported among the DC news media, and in the transportation press, there was a bit of an issue, in that the Senate did not pass this extension bill before the February 28 expiration of the last SAFETEA-LU extension. As a result, there were a couple of days in which many DOT employees were on a furlough, work on some federally involved transportation projects was suspended, and there was a lot of blogging and finger-pointing about this delay.

But once TEA-2010 was signed into law, DOT Secretary Ray LaHood was on hand at his agency's headquarters, welcoming the employees back to work.

Note, though, that this latest transportation extension is only for a few more weeks. It's too soon to tell what may happen later this month. In the meantime, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, convened a hearing today (Mar. 3) at which she vowed to have her committee do its part on a SAFETEA-LU renewal -- not another extension -- before the year is up.

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