WASHINGTON, DC – Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Environment & Public Works Committee, commented today on the current status of the highway bill negotiations:

“I am not interested in playing the blame game with this critical legislation. I am only interested in getting a bill that President Bush will sign this year. In that vein, I have spoken several times with Senator Reid and have assured him that we will continue to work together on this bill. But a decision has to be made soon... do we want a bill? If so we must act immediately.

“We worked very hard for a bill totaling $318 billion but despite our efforts it is clear the President will not sign a bill at that funding level. Again, if we want a bill this year, we have to work to address the President’s concern on the number.

“What the House conferees are offering is only a 6% reduction from the Senate passed bill and is still a significant increase over TEA21. It may not be ideal, but it is doable. I believe we can and will be able to get a bill at this number, if all parties involved want this important bill to pass this year.”