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LaHood Expects Final Deals on FAA, Transportation Funding Bills

Jan. 28 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said he expects Congress to give final approval to a long-term authorization of the Federal Aviation Administration, which has been on a temporary footing since 2007.

LaHood said he also is optimistic for agreement on a transportation funding bill to be approved in the coming weeks.

He said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner have reached an agreement on an FAA bill and he believes Congress will pass it in a couple of weeks.

“The FAA is done, that’s a done deal, they’re going to vote on it,” LaHood said while attending the opening of a car exhibit in Dearborn, Michigan. “There is an agreement, it will be a multi-year bill and we’re very happy about it.”

A bill to extend FAA programs through Feb. 17 -- the 23rd extension since 2007 -- was approved Jan. 26 by the Senate on a voice vote. The House passed an identical extension earlier this week.

LaHood said the Senate soon will take up a transportation funding bill which has been stymied by disagreements between the House and Senate. He said Senators Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat, and James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican, have put together a two-year bill that the Senate will soon debate. He said a transportation bill will be introduced in the House next week.

“The president talked about a six-year transportation bill, paid for, in the State of the Union,” LaHood said. “There are a lot of moving parts here, things are moving.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Christoff in Lansing at cchristoff@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net

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