WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

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Congress Nearing Compromise On Transportation Bill

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Lawmakers in the region are optimistic they'll be able to pass a transportation bill before leaving town for their Fourth of July recess. 

Sticky political issues have tied up the transportation bill for months. House Republicans initially demanded the bill include approval for a new oil pipeline that would stretch from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, but Republicans backed down. Negotiations also moved forward when Democrats agreed to loosen some regulations for permitting new construction projects. 

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) is on the conference committee tasked with hashing out a final bill. He believes the key to a final bill will be compromise.

"That's what we need to be doing here in the Congress on more things. It should not be, 'my way or the highway,'" he says. "We've got to try to work things out because that's what the American people want us to do." 

The legislation also includes new safety provisions for Metro and transit systems across the U.S. If Congress fails to act, the transportation program expires at the end of this week, which could put dozens of road projects around the country on hold. But lawmakers are hoping the compromise bill can muster enough votes to pass both chambers of Congress. 

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