U.S. Congressman Jim Oberstar (D-MN) has thrown down quite a gauntlet in his public standoff with the Obama administration about the prospects of a new transportation bill.
Oberstar released his bill earlier this week (he’s Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee) and he (and other House members) has rebuffed Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s proposal to extend the current bill by 18 months.
With a draft version of his Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 2009 in hand, Oberstar addressed the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit today. His remarks made it clear he has no plans to delay in pushing his bill forward.
He opened with:
“There’s an old saying, no helmsman is ever tested in calm waters. Well, the administration’s announcement last week [to extend the current transportation bill 18 months] stirred the waters and roiled them up and we are sailing forward…”
He then ended with a sternly worded, “We intend to move this bill forward… this administration not withstanding.” (Several cheers and applause could be heard in the background.)
Watch it here:
UPDATE: More analysis on the Oberstar vs. Obama saga on Streetsblog DC.