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With the current federal surface transportation law set to expire on June 30, Congress must pass new legislation to fund investments in our nation's transportation infrastructure -- roads, bridges, rails, runways and ports.

Right now, the Senate and House are negotiating the bill in conference committee. NRDC urges legislators to adopt the Senate version, which is a balanced, bi-partisan bill that passed by a wide margin of 74-22. However, the House is pushing to adopt its controversial version, which is simply an extension of the current law that also contains unrelated "poison pill" measures. These include expedited approval of the Keystone XL pipeline and provisions to block stronger coal ash regulations and to weaken NEPA environmental protections -- once again proving that House Republican leadership is intent on hijacking a must-pass bill in order to advance an extreme anti-environmental agenda.

The federal transportation bill is currently the best opportunity to boost employment by putting Americans to work fixing and improving our nation's highways, bridges and transit systems. The House should be working on a thoughtful transportation policy that could actually become law -- not playing games by loading misguided and destructive measures onto the already-delayed transportation bill. We need a balanced transportation policy and a forward-looking, innovative energy policy.

President Obama has threatened to veto any transportation bill that circumvents his rejection of the Keystone tar sands pipeline. It's time to end the gridlock caused by senseless partisanship in Congress and put Americans back to work by passing a clean, balanced transportation bill.

The clock is ticking and it's time for members of Congress to do their job, so we can keep the economy moving. The simplest, smartest way to do that is for the congressional conference committee to reach consensus on passing the Senate transportation bill.

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last revised 2/1/2012

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