Highway funding extended; surcharge in question

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President Bush extended transportation funding until July 19 after Congress passed its eighth extension June 30.

Congressional conferees met last month to iron out differences between the chambers’ versions of the highway reauthorization bill. The House version included a mandatory fuel surcharge, but the Senate legislation passed in May does not.

The Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association has supported the surcharge and urges truckers to contact conferees. However, the American Trucking Associations, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration oppose the measure.

Negotiators reportedly have reached a funding compromise of $286.5 billion, according to published reports, which is $2.5 billion more than the maximum Bush said he would sign for the 2004-09 funding.

Bush has said that he would veto any bill higher than $284 billion, the level approved in the House bill. The Senate passed a $295 billion bill.