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Congress pressed to pass transportation bill

Lawmakers must fund new federal highway construction before the current legislation expires on Saturday. If they don't, local construction projects may suffer, and jobs could be lost.

Jeremy Hobson: The end of this week marks the end of June which marks the end of the fiscal year for many companies. It also marks the end of federal funding for highway construction and other transportation projects, unless of course lawmakers in Washinton can agree on an extension of the transportation bill. 

Marketplace's Adriene Hill reports on what's at stake.


Adriene Hill: Congress could use some cheerleading this week. Give me a C! Give me an O!

Why? Well it's got a lot of work to do: Federal highway funding expires on Saturday, and if it does...

Pete Ruane: There would be suspension of contracts throughout the 50 states which would lead to layoffs of workers.

Pete Ruane heads the American Road and Transportation Builders Association. He doesn't think it'll come to that.

Neither does Robert Puentes from the Brookings Institution.

Robert Puentes: It would truly be disastrous for the program to simply just expire.

One answer might be a short-term extension, which Puentes says could be tough on local governments.

Puentes: These are not short-term kind of projects -- they take years, they take months, there are construction seasons that happen, so there's a level of predictability that states and cities genuinely need.

Congress could also pass a multi-year plan. And there are rumors that a deal is close. One hang-up: House Republicans want approval of the contentious Keystone XL oil pipeline as part of the legislation.

I'm Adriene Hill for Marketplace.

About the author

Adriene Hill is a senior multimedia reporter for the Marketplace sustainability desk, with a focus on consumer issues and the individual relationship to sustainability and the environment.
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