Latest reports indicate that House Republicans may be ready to cut a deal with Senator Boxer and Senate conferees on the Highway bill before the end of the month. Among the issues at stake in the bill of interest to outfitters are
• Language on a study for requiring CDL for some drivers of 9 to 15 passenger vans;
• $700 million in funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund;
• Funding for Recreational Trails Program.
After claiming there was little chance the bill would get done this summer, Speaker Boehner had to backtrack after the House overwhelming voted 386-34 on Wednesday to instruct conferees to finish their work by Friday, June 22nd. So, the word is Senator Boxer and Representative Mica will have a hand shake agreement by tomorrow night. Votes will have to be taken in both Chambers before the bill is final but that should come next week, if these latest reports are accurate.
Apparently, states may have more leeway on how to spend the money generated by federal taxes on motor fuels, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.
We will know soon whether the language on the 9 to 15 passenger van study language survived the negotiations, and if so, what form it will take.