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Congress passes transportation bill extension

Published March 29, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. (BRAIN) Thursday March 29 2012 3:35 PM MT—Congress avoided a widespread shutdown of construction projects Thursday, passing a three-month extension to the multi-year surface transportation bill, SAFETEA-LU, set to expire March 31. It’s the ninth extension to pass since the expiration of the last transportation bill in September 2009.

The House passed the extension with a vote of 266 to 158 followed by the Senate, which passed the measure by a voice vote.

The 90-day extension will ensure funding to national, state and local transportation projects continues until the end of June.

Tim Blumenthal, president of Bikes Belong, said the extension is “clean” and continues funding for biking and walking projects in the previous five-year bill, which is good news in the short term.

“But longer term, uncertainty isn’t a good thing for any type of transportation planning or construction,” Blumenthal said. “That includes bike facilities of all kinds. The 90-day extension is what we expected. It’s a clean extension, which means no tweaking to existing programs.”

The measure passed less than a week after the conclusion of the National Bike Summit. The annual conference draws hundreds of advocates, suppliers and retailers to the nation’s capital to discuss best practices in advocacy and to meet with senators and representatives to ask for continued federal investment in bicycling and walking.

-Lynette Carpiet

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