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The Source for Public Transportation News and Analysis April 6, 2012
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Obama Signs 90-Day Authorization Extension

President Obama signed a 90-day extension of the SAFETEA-LU surface transportation authorization bill on March 30. Both the House and Senate passed the extension—the ninth since it expired Sept. 30, 2009—the previous day before sending it to the president in time to meet the March 31 deadline when the current extension would expire.

While the Senate has passed a two-year authorization bill, the House has struggled to move forward with a long-term bill and now looks to begin work on an authorization bill upon its return April 16. If the House successfully passes such a bill in the coming weeks, Congress could then move on to a conference to discuss differences between the two bills.

APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy said in a statement: “The American Public Transportation Association commends Congress on approving an extension of the surface transportation law and commends President Obama for signing this 90-day extension into law. Now our congressional leaders need to make sure that a long-term surface transportation bill passes and reaches the president’s desk before the June 30 deadline.”

“Passage of this transportation extension has given our elected officials the time to work out differences and find a solution,” he continued. “The surface transportation bill is now two and a half years overdue and it is time to come to the table and pass this important legislation. We look forward to working with the House in a bipartisan manner to develop a surface transportation authorization bill that preserves funding and dedicated revenues for public transportation.” 

APTA members should continue to make the case for federal investment in public transportation and infrastructure during the two-week congressional recess, while members of Congress are in their districts. APTA members should invite their representatives and senators to visit their facilities and encourage them to pass a long-term multimodal surface transportation authorization quickly upon their return to Washington.

In other congressional action, a letter in the House has received bipartisan support urging a Managers Amendment that would restore parity between the pre-tax public transit and parking benefits to any surface transportation authorization bill. This would restore the monthly benefit to $240 instead of the current $125. Thirty-five members of the House, representing both parties, have signed the letter.
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