Of the entire bill, Lankford said, “We were able to create a long-term solution, which will shorten construction permitting schedules, reduce costs, and increase state flexibility. It was essential to give primary transportation decision authority to Oklahoma leadership, rather than keeping the control in Washington, D.C.”
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., the top Senate negotiator said the bill “will save and create about three million jobs, provide a boost to the economy by rebuilding our roads and bridges, and make our nation more competitive.”
Inhofe’s role in getting the bill over the finish line was praised by Democratic and Republican lawmakers on Friday.
Inhofe, a big believer in highway funding, spent much of his time trying to persuade conservative House members to agree to a bill “with a lot of zeros in it.” The bill is expected to cost more than $100 billion through the 2014 fiscal year.
“Our bill streamlines environmental review process for the long term, gives more authority and flexibility to the states to decide their own funding priorities, and eliminates or consolidates programs that are duplicative or do not further our national transportation goals — all things conservatives are proud to support,” Inhofe said.
Not all conservatives agreed.
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., objected to the bill, which also included an extension of current student loan rates, for violating budget ceilings previously approved.
“The message this sends is that the Senate doesn’t have the discipline, the courage, or the will to do what we told the American people we would do to try to get our fiscal house in order,” Corker said.