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The biggest on 2006 the issue agenda of many transportation lobbyists will be the highway bill.
For anyone scratching their head, that's not a misprint.
Although Congress wrapped up the latest highway bill in the second half of 2005, industry associations and business groups are already looking ahead to 2009 when the bill is due for another round.
"We don't have the opportunity to sit back and say 'the problem is solved and we can go on to other things,'" said U.S. Chamber of Commerce Transportation and Infrastructure Director Ed Mortimer, who also leads a highway bill lobbying coalition called Americans for Transportation Mobility.
The record $284.5 billion six-year highway bill President Bush signed into law this year is a disappointment rather than a victory to the Chamber and the other forces behind shaping that bill.
The leadership of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, Associated General Contractors, American Public Transit Association and others spent the past three years unsuccessfully scrambling to secure an additional $90 billion beyond what was in the bill.
These groups argued that at least that much was needed to invest in new infrastructure, not just replacement of crumbling bridges and highways.
Considering themselves short-changed by this highway bill and ill-served by public dissatisfaction with the 6,300 earmarked special projects derided as pork by consumer groups and deficit hawks, …