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Another detour on the highway bill
An editorial / By Dale McFeatters
Scripps Howard News Service


May 27, 2005

Congress generally assigns low numbers to bills with high or symbolic importance. So you would think HR 3, the huge, six-year highway and mass-transit bill, would move expeditiously to passage. But you would be wrong.

The old highway act expired at the end of September 2003, but lawmakers, unable to agree on a new bill, have repeatedly extended the old law with its much lower funding levels.

It looked like they might have a measure ready for passage when the House approved a $284 billion bill that the White House said was too expensive but still OK. But then the Senate tacked on another $11 billion, meaning negotiations with the House would have to be reopened. And the White House further complicated matters by saying that $295 billion really was too expensive and that President Bush would veto it.

This is all pretty funny unless you're a state or local government official who sees the prime summer construction season a-wasting.

On Thursday, Congress extended the old bill - for the seventh time. It now expires June 30. Maybe lawmakers will get around to the new measure when they return from Memorial Day recess June 6.



Contact Dale McFeatters at McFeattersD(at)
Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service,

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