Traffic comes to a stand still on the northbound and the southbound lanes of the Interstate 405 freeway near Los Angeles International Aiprort in Los Angeles, Calif.
Traffic comes to a stand still on the northbound and the southbound lanes of the Interstate 405 freeway near Los Angeles International Aiprort in Los Angeles, Calif. - 
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Jeremy Hobson: Lawmakers in Washington are poised today to approve a bill that provides billions for transportation projects and lowers student loan interest rates.

Marketplace Washington bureau chief John Dimsdale reports.


John Dimsdale: It's taken Congress three years to renew long-term funding for highway, bridge and public transit construction projects all over the country. States hated the uncertainty of eight short-term extensions.

Stephen Ellis at Taxpayers for Common Sense says, in the end, the prospect of the loss of millions of construction jobs in the midst of a shaky recovery forced Congress to set aside an election-year standoff.  

Stephen Ellis: Political self-interest always trumps partisanship. Lawmakers, a lot of them on the left and the right looked around and said we better do something and we better do something that's good for the economy. That's a major driving force here.

Ellis says the political risk of doubling student loan interest rates also persuaded lawmakers to find the money for a year's extension of lower rates.

And then there's the National Flood Insurance program. It is set to expire at the end of July, right in the middle of hurricane season. Without those subsidies, home prices in flood-prone areas would have dropped. Today's vote extends government flood insurance until 2017.

In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

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