Washington, DC - Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), Ranking Member of the Committee, issued the following statement today after the Senate voted to proceed with the surface transportation bill. The final vote was 85-11.

Senator Boxer said: "Today's vote to proceed with the surface transportation bill is a significant step in the right direction. The 85 votes in favor illustrate how much widespread support this job-creating legislation has. MAP-21 is truly a bipartisan bill, and I want to thank Senator Inhofe for working tirelessly with me on this legislation. I look forward to continuing to work with him and our other Senate colleagues to get to final passage as soon as possible."

Senator Inhofe said: "I am pleased by the overwhelming bipartisan vote today in the Senate as we move forward with this important jobs bill. In particular, I applaud Chairman Boxer for her continued leadership and look forward to working with her and Senators Baucus and Vitter to ensure that this bipartisan momentum continues so we can pass this highway bill as soon as possible."

Senators Boxer and Inhofe 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. The current transportation authorization expires on March 31, 2012.