Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) chairs the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. She’s a strong advocate for climate change legislation and for raising CAFE standards for automobiles. After substantial public blowback to her planned amendment adding $50 billion for roads to the stimulus, Boxer is reportedly reworking the amendment.
It will now allow states to spend the money on transit and some “fix it first” language to prioritize fixing crumbling roads over building new ones. However, the language remains “soft,” relying on the administration to enforce and leaving states lots of potentially damaging wiggle room. Boxer is still working on the language, so it could get better or worse in the next day.
Talking Points Memo analyzes the lack of push for “fix it first” in the Senate. The article wonders if Boxer, who may have to defend her seat against Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2010, might be focusing on bringing money to California, environmental consequences be damned. However, Schwarzenegger opposes Bond’s amendment to cut high-speed rail. Tell your Senators (if you have Senators) to oppose the Bond, Inhofe, and Boxer amendments.
Update: Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Ben Nelson (D-NE), and some other centrist Senators have a list of cuts, including Amtrak and the somewhat mysterious transportation grants Bond wants to move to highways. According to TPM, the Senate may move forward today on the entire stimulus.