Boxer/Inhofe Ammendment: Better, But Not Good Enough
A draft of the Boxer/Inhofe amendment just came over the transom from a source in DC close to the negotiations (PDF). This is a draft from yesterday and negotiations are ongoing, so expect changes.
enviros are trying to get a "green screen" put in place, so that USDOT
can pick from the priority projects presented by the state DOTs.
Theoretically this would mean that the Obama administration would make
better decisions about how to spend the money than the states and would
redirect funding to priority transit projects. Based on the current
language, though, the amendment still gives precedence to the states to
load up their road building projects.
Here are the highlights of the draft circulating as of yesterday:
the American Recovery Reinvestment Act of 2009
amendment Senators Boxer and Inhofe have been working on would increase
highway, transit and water (clean water and drinking water)
infrastructure funding in the stimulus by up to $50 billion if other
funding provided for in the bill is not used quickly.
amendment would redirect up to $50 billion of funding that would
otherwise expire at the end of Fiscal Year 2009 in addition (if
necessary) to unobligated balances from slower-spending programs
appropriated throughout the stimulus package that have not been
obligated within a full year after enactment.
maximum of $50 billion would be redistributed by the President to
states for use on highways, transit and water projects, based on a
priority list of shovel ready projects within 120 days, as determined
by states. This list would be provided by each state and certified by
the Governor, based on priorities that are the product of ongoing state
and local planning programs.
- Eligibility has been
expanded far beyond highways alone. A broad array of projects beyond
highways and bridges can be funded including transit and environmental
mitigation for example. States and localities should give special
consideration to projects that will bring the conditions of roads,
bridges, and other transportation system elements up to standard, that
will result in immediate employment, that will increase the energy
independence of the United States, and that will provide long-term
- This amendment would provide
additional funding for the clean water and drinking water state
revolving funds and would maintain the 15% set-aside for green
infrastructure included in the underlying bill. This ensures that
states will be able to implement green projects to reduce energy
consumption and improve water efficiency with any funding provided
through the amendment.
amendment takes money that is otherwise not going to quickly stimulate
the economy and moves it to a program that can get people working
- Funds are moved to highway, transit and water
infrastructure investments under this amendment because they improve
our nation’s infrastructure and can be under contract in an expedited