This morning, a vote before the full Senate to combine all four sections of the transportation bill failed 54-42. (Recall that the Senate essentially needs 60 votes to pass anything.) With a few other items on their agenda today, Senators will head home for the President’s Day recess without taking further action on transportation. Rumors are that a compromise on the Commerce title, which includes freight policy and national transportation objectives, is in the works.
This follows on a vote yesterday in the House to pass H.R. 3804, the energy and oil drilling revenue portions of the House transportation proposal. Kudos to Rep. Brian Bilbray (San Diego) for breaking with his party to vote NO on H.R. 3804, in opposition to opening California’s coast to oil drilling. As for Rep. Jim Costa (Fresno), we are disappointed that he crossed party lines to vote YES on the measure.
Both Houses are expected to resume consideration of their respective transportation bill on February 27, after they return from recess. The coming week remains a critical time to contact both our Senators and Representatives, to ensure they know that Californians are paying attention to transportation and won’t settle for a bill that excludes walking, biking, and public transportation.
When they’re back in D.C., both chambers face an onslaught of amendments – over 300 were filed on the House bill alone. T4 America’s national blog has a nifty Senate amendment tracker page that will be updated as debate proceeds. We aren’t tracking House amendments because our focus is to defeat the bill. And in case you need reminding why, here’s a great opinion piece by two of our partners posted today at the Silicon Valley Mercury News.
So get out there and welcome your reps home…and let them know California needs a transportation policy that supports walking, biking, and public transportation!