The Senate voted 74 to 22 to adopt the massive legislation that, among many other things, will establish a funding mechanism for high-priced projects, such as the subway expansion. This is a very big deal in the mayor's long-running effort to have this and other transportation projects supposedly completed in 10 years instead of 30 - a concept that's gone national under the heading America Fast Forward. Now it's onto the House. From Metro's government relations staff (via The Source)
The House leadership expects to work on their surface transportation bill (HR 7) in a yet-to-be determined form when they come back to Washington next week. Metro's federal team is actively engaging with our Los Angeles County House Delegation to ensure that they and their aides have all the information they need on our Board-approved legislative program should the House bring HR 7 to a vote next week. The current surface transportation bill extension expires on March 31, 2012.
Say what you will about the 30-10 plan (I still think it's more of a political stunt than workable public policy), but give the mayor and his people credit for marshaling this thing along, especially in a political climate where very little is getting done in Congress.
*Update: Pressure is building in the House. From the NYT:
The nearly three million jobs expected to be "saved or created" by the measure largely come from construction jobs that stand to be lost if federally financed projects grind to a halt April 1, when money from the highway trust fund could no longer be used. That deadline appears to be weighing heavily on House Republicans, who initially had wanted to use their measure to fundamentally change federal transportation policy by linking infrastructure spending to the expansion of oil drilling from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to the outer continental shelf off the East Coast. The five-year House proposal was stymied by a coalition of opponents in both parties, and Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio, one of its initial backers, has all but abandoned it.