The Honorable Bill Frist
Majority Leader
United States Senate Dear Majority Leader: We write to request floor consideration of the surface transportation reauthorization bill prior to the completion of this April work period. As you know, a well-maintained surface transportation system is critical to our nation’s economy. Long-term transportation planning is essential to the continued maintenance and improvement of the system. Unfortunately, for the past 18 months, the Federal surface transportation program has operated under a series of short-term extensions denying states the ability to make and to execute long-term transportation plans. Because of this continuing uncertainty, many states have had to slow or to stop entirely progress on many important transportation projects. Further extensions will only exacerbate these delays costing billions of dollars in project delays and thousands of jobs. The current program extension expires on May 31, 2005. In order to complete work on this important legislation before this deadline, the full Senate must consider the measure prior to the end of the April work period. Recognizing this urgency, each of the committees of jurisdiction will be ready for Senate floor debate in the near future. We are ready and committed to moving this process forward in the bipartisan spirit this bill has traditionally enjoyed. We look forward to an open and vigorous debate of the surface transportation reauthorization before the end of this April work period. Sincerely, Senators Harry Reid, D - Nev., Jim Jeffords, I - Vt., Max Baucus, D - Mont., Daniel Inouye, D - Hi., Paul Sarbanes, D - Md.