Congressional Conference on Transportation Gears Up

Margo PedrosoBoth the House and Senate have decided to get down to business on a transportation bill. As mentioned in my last update, on April 18 the House passed a transportation extension as a way to request a conference on a long-term transportation bill with the Senate.  A conference is a process where the House and Senate negotiate the differences between two pieces of legislation to create a final bill that can be approved by both the House and Senate and signed into law.

Since then, both the House and the Senate have appointed their conferees. A total of 47 Members of Congress have been selected to represent their body and their party in the negotiations.  The breakdown includes: 14 Senators (eight Democrats and six Republicans) and 33 Representatives (20 Republicans and 13 Democrats). Click down to see if anyone from your state is represented. Notably, two of the six House cosponsors of the Petri-Johnson-Blumenauer amendment—Reps. Blumenauer (D-OR) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)—have been appointed to the conference.

The conferees will have their first official meeting on Tuesday, May 8. At that meeting, each of the 47 conferees will get a chance to make a statement of their priorities for the transportation bill. We will be monitoring those statements to see whether any Members call out the elimination of funding for bicycling and walking as one of their priorities. 

While thus far the conferees have said they are all committed to getting a transportation bill done, there are a number of controversial issues that must be resolved before we see a final bill. Most of the public attention has focused on the House’s insistence on approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, while the President has issued a veto threat if it is included on the transportation bill. 

It is always hard to tell what kind of agreements will come out of a conference committee. We will be on guard against any efforts to weaken the Cardin-Cochran compromise that ensures local governments are able to compete for Safe Routes to School, bicycling and walking funding.

As soon as the conference committee has its first meeting and we have a better sense of the direction things are going, we will be calling you to action. At that time, your job will be to make sure that Congress hears loud and clear that Safe Routes to School, bicycling and walking do not have to be divisive.

Transportation Conferees by State

Alaska Rep. Don Young (R)
Alabama Sen. Shelby (R)
Arkansas Rep. Crawford (R)
California Sen. Boxer (D), Rep. Waxman (D)
District of Columbia Rep. Norton (D)
Florida Sen. Bill Nelson (D), Rep. Corinne Brown (D), Rep. Mica (R), Rep. Southerland (R)
Iowa Rep. Boswell (D)
Illinois Sen. Durbin (D), Rep. Costello (D)
Indiana Rep. Bucshon (R)
Kentucky Rep. Whitfield (R)
Louisiana Sen. Vitter (R)
Massachusetts Rep. Markey (D)
Maryland Rep. Cummings (D)
Michigan Rep. Camp (R), Rep. Upton (R)
Minnesota Rep. Cravaack (R)
Montana Sen. Baucus (D)
North Dakota Sen. Hoeven (D)
New Jersey Sen. Menendez (D)
New York Sen. Schumer (D), Rep. Tim Bishop (D), Rep. Hanna (R), Rep. Nadler (D)
Ohio Rep. Tiberi (R)
Oklahoma Sen. Inhofe (R), Rep. Lankford (R)
Oregon Rep. Blumenauer (D), Rep. DeFazio (D)
Pennsylvania Rep. Shuster (R)
South Dakota Sen. Johnson (D)
Tennessee Rep. Duncan (R)
Texas Sen. Hutchison (R), Rep. Ralph Hall (R), Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D)
Utah Sen. Hatch (R), Rep. Rob Bishop (R)
Washington Rep. Herrera Beutler (R), Rep. Hastings (R)
Wisconsin Rep. Ribble (R)
West Virginia Sen. Rockefeller (D), Rep. Capito (R), Rep. Rahall (D)