Your June 17 Pre-Trip: GOP gets 45-day highway deadline

Here are five things worth knowing today:

1. Senate Democrats are giving Republicans until mid-July – 45 days – to negotiate a long-term highway funding bill, The Hill reports. According to The Hill, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said: “We do not want a 34th short-term extension of this bill – this program. We need Republicans to sit down with us, sit down together – and don’t do it on their own. We don’t want to do it on our own. We want to sit down with them and negotiate the situation.” A two-month extension of highway funding was passed before the Memorial recess, and that extension expires at the end of July.

2. Rhode Island’s Senate Finance Committee will consider Gov. Gina Raimondo’s proposal, which would toll tractor-trailers to help repair the state’s bridges and roads, as a stand-alone bill, WPRI reports. The $700 million proposal was not included in the budget approved by House lawmakers on Tuesday, the report says. The latest version of the bill offers Rhode Island trucking companies a rebate on their gas tax payments to the state, according to WPRI. The governor maintains that this is a “smart, sustainable solution to reconstruct Rhode Island’s crumbling roads and bridges, and create thousands of jobs in the process,” according to the report. The trucking industry has adamantly opposed the measure, saying it unfairly targets the industry.

3. Steven M. Gordon, COO of Heartland Express, sold 50,000 shares of the company’s stock on Monday, according to WKRB News & Analysis. “The shares were sold at an average price of $20.58, for a total transaction of $1,029,000,” according to the report. WKRB has more, including analysts’ ratings.

4. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam is telling opponents of his proposed gas tax hike that they can “have at it,” according to Local 8 Now. The governor wants to raise the gas tax for the first time in 25 years to fund transportation projects that he said are “sorely underfunded,” according to the report.  

5. Two Missouri senators have joined forces to develop a coalition to leverage funds to better maintain the state’s outdated infrastructure without use of federal tax dollars, KSPR reports. According to the report, Senators Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill are part of the group of nine senators from both parties backing the bill. KSPR has more.

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