Washington, DC - Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, is announcing the first meeting of the House and Senate conference on the transportation bill. The first meeting will take place on Tuesday, May 8th at 3:00 pm ET in 216 Hart. Conferees will be invited to make opening statements on the bill.

Senator Boxer said: "I am sure that every member of the conference, Democrat or Republican, House or Senate, understands how critical it is to swiftly pass a comprehensive transportation bill that is a deficit neutral, reform measure that will preserve or create millions of jobs and thousands of businesses.

"Now is the time to set aside our personal wish lists and focus on the issue at hand - the reauthorization of a bill that is absolutely essential to our economy. Controversy should not be part of the conference and we should come together for the good of the country."

Senator Boxer and Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), Ranking Member of the Committee, worked together with their EPW Committee colleagues to develop a two-year surface transportation bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), which maintains funding at current levels. The bipartisan measure passed unanimously in the EPW Committee on November 9, 2011. On March 14, 2012, the Senate passed the bill with overwhelming bipartisan support, 74-22. The current transportation authorization expires on June 30, 2012.

Note that media will be required to display current Senate press credentials for the May 8th meeting. Please RSVP to Nathan McCray at nathan_mccray@epw.senate.gov if you plan to attend. Television producers should also contact the Senate Radio and TV Gallery in advance if possible to ensure that we're ready to accommodate you.