Here's an update. Please take note.
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Senate floor action on the highway reauthorization bill (S.1072) is still expected to take place next week, and will include an extended debate starting on February 3rd. The extra time gives us the chance to wrap up contacts yet to be made and provide the National Trust with reports on conversations you may have had with senators and representatives. These reports are very critical to us, because of the very fluid nature of last-minute legislative maneuverings.
We are still anticipating House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee action in the second week of February.
Our friends in the U.S. Senate are telling us to beware of surprise amendments even more damaging than the ones that had drafted up for committee action back in November. The forces that want badly to weaken section 4(f) have redoubled their efforts since they failed to achieve their goal at the Senate committee in November. Our message to senators and representatives that they oppose changes to section 4(f) that will weaken its protections for historic places is still the best one to deliver. There are too many opportunities for surprises, and so our message must be straightforward and simple.
Both Preservation Action and the National Trust continue to be interested in proposals that would pave the way to an agreement with those senators and representatives who want to streamline section 4(f) procedures but, at the same time, leave its strong standards of protection for historic places in tact. It has been the National Trustís and Preservation Actionís position from day one of this long ordeal that they favor administrative improvements to section 4(f) that save time, reduce paperwork and make section 4(f) more rational and effective, only if the substantive protections that section 4(f) afforded historic places are not weakened.
We need feedback from your visits and contacts. Please let us know what you are hearing from senators and representatives. Visit our transportation page on the Trust web site at http://capwiz.com/nthp2/utr/1/GKHZCSMBDU/HTJFCSMBLN/ to access our advocacy toolkit.
The Trustís president, Richard Moe met yesterday with our Republican Senate champion, John Warner of Virginia, and he is more resolved and enthusiastic than ever to defend legislative protections for historic places in transportation law when legislation moves to the Senate floor.
Our own resolution and enthusiasm, and our efforts to find support among preservation-minded senators and representatives for preserving section 4(f), will see us through to a big legislative victory.