U.S. Senators derailed Tuesday the surface transportation bill through filibuster, complicating efforts to provide sufficient local transit funding. Fifty-two U.S. Senators, eight short of the needed 60, voted to end debate on a bill that would use proceeds from the federal gas tax to fund highway and public transit construction projects, including long delayed Chicago Transit Authority improvements. The federal government's authority to use gas tax money toward transit projects expires March 31. It is unclear if the transportation bill, bogged down by amendments, can pass the upper chamber by March 31.
The Republican-controlled U.S. House is working on its own transportation bill. House Republicans had before threatened to no longer use gas tax money toward public transit, but have decided against the controversial policy.