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Roll It Down the Road

Wednesday, July 15, 2009 at 08:09 PM EDT


Democrats in Washington are dead-set on the “sexy issues” that Barack Obama focused on during his campaign: providing health care to every American and passing “historic” climate legislation.

Reforming health care would give Democrats the satisfaction of “solving” the health care crisis that has loomed over the United States for decades. Climate legislation would give them green street cred with their environmental supporters, in addition to most of Europe.

So while Congress has spent endless amounts of hours on these two issues, the White House has essentially thrown a tremendously important issue to the wayside: the transportation infrastructure of the country. Sure, transportation might not be the sexiest of issues, but the way we, as a society, get to work or school or how businesses transport their product from one place to another is fundamental.

Clearly not the biggest headline of the day (see: Senate Committee passes health care bill), but the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, led by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), voted to refill the near-empty federal highway account with $20 billion and punt the transportation reauthorization bill down the road — 18 months minimum.

The House has been fiercely against any delay in the transportation bill – touting their own $500 billion plan – without a mechanism to pay for it. With the Senate and the Administration wanting to put off yet another big ticket item, however, it looks like the delay will come out on top. It might be a smart political move since Congress wouldn’t get to this until January 2011, but it looks like “politics as usual” with an Administration that has quickly pushed our deficit to an all-time high.

A word of advice: if you buy one of those green compact cars, cross your fingers and hope the pot holes don’t get too big in the coming years.