27 mar. 2012

Construction and Building Materials : House Democrats block extension to federal highway programme

FACTS: Democrats in the US House of Representatives have blocked moves by Republicans to extend the current highway programme by 90 days.
ANALYSIS: According to reports from Washington, moves by House Republicans to extend the current highway programme which expires on March 31st were blocked yesterday (March 26th) by Democrats.
A two-thirds majority of members present was required to pass the extension. When Republicans present realised that Democrats were not going to vote for the extension, it was withdrawn.
Theoretically, this means that federal highway funding could be cut off at the end of this week unless a solution can be found. It is clear that the Democrats are trying to push the Republicans to come up with some form of an agreed bill before then.
The US senate has already agreed a two-year bill at unchanged spending levels.
OPINION: The latest political move creates further uncertainty on the availability of highway funding for the current and future years. In this environment, it is difficult for state departments of transport (DOTs) to start new projects, which is likely to result in continuing declines in overall highway spending this year and next.