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Oberstar pushing for action on transportation bill this week

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Discussions about a massive overhaul of the nation’s transportation system are not over until Rep. Jim Oberstar says they’re over — or, at least, that’s the message that the chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is trying to convey.

The Iron Range Democrat will step up efforts this week to have $3 billion dedicated to the Highway Trust Fund before the House leaves for its August recess this Friday, according to Roll Call.

That amount would temporarily cover the projected shortfall, leaving the door open for Oberstar to push through his $500 billion transportation revamp this fall.

But if the Senate and the Obama administration have their way, Congress will instead pass a longer-term patch and delay work on Oberstar’s transportation reauthorization for at least 18 months.

The proponents of this plan have argued that the funding details of Oberstar’s bill still need to be worked out and that the legislative calendar is already jam-packed with health care and climate change measures.

But Oberstar has continued to lobby intensely for his timeline, building support in the House, and warning that a prolonged extension could hurt local transportation projects and state economies.

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