ADJOURNMENT! Both chambers of Congress adjourned last night. The Senate will conduct pro forma sessions approximately every 3 days to prevent President Bush from making any controversial recess appointments. The second session of the 110th Congress is scheduled to convene on January 15, but no work is scheduled to begin until January 22.
APPROPRIATIONS: The House passed the revised FY 2008 omnibus yesterday by a 272-142 vote, awarding $70 billion in unfettered funds for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Included in the legislation is $9.4 billion for transit. The President is expected to sign the bill because of the additional war funding, but to give him more time to review the appropriations measure, both chambers passed another continuing resolution (CR), funding the government through Dec. 31. The current CR expires tomorrow night.
FEDERAL AGENCIES: On December 18, the Transportation Department requested information on commercially available technologies that can minimize congestion and improve the safety and performance of the country’s transportation system. Private industry, research groups, and state & local governments will vie to partner with the department’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) to do field testing of these technologies in a project known as “SafeTrip-21”. The project will expand on current use of information and communications technology to assist travelers in navigation, accident prevention, avoiding congested areas, and receiving real-time transit information. SafeTrip-21 is expected to be launched at the 2008 Intelligent Transportation Systems World Congress