The Senate has introduced a highway bill that would exceed the House version, now passed at $284 billion, by $11 billion, The Associated Press reported. President George W. Bush had said he would veto any bill that exceeded the $284 billion ceiling.
The current highway bill is on its sixth extension, which is set to expire on May 31. The Senate is expected finish work on the bill this week, with negotiations with the House to follow.
“This could potentially result in another extension of the highway bill as the White House is threatening to veto it,” said Rick Schweitzer, National Private Truck Council’s director of general counsel & government affairs.
U.S. Dept. of Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta voiced his opposition to the Senate proposal. “If the Congress chooses to irresponsibly add billions to the cost of the bill, it is setting itself up to raise gas taxes or risk bankrupting the highway trust fund in the very near future,” Mineta said. “Neither option is acceptable.”