WASHINGTON-National Highway System designation legislation, in House-Senate conference more than a month, was expected to be on the House and Senate floors by the week of Oct. 30, sources said. The fate of a provision offering a compromise on federal asphalt rubber requirements, however, was still uncertain.
Discussion of the bill stalled early in October, because of controversy over issues such as providing money for Amtrak from the Highway Trust Fund.
The asphalt rubber provision is comparatively minor in the conferees' deliberations. Essentially, it rescinds subsection (d) of Section 1038 of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA), which requires states to use an ever-increasing percentage of crumb-rubber-modified asphalt in federally funded highway projects through fiscal year 1997.
Subsections of Section 1038 allowing for funding of research and technology transfer in rubberized asphalt, however, are retained.
Since ISTEA was passed in 1991, amendments to Transportation Department appropriations bills have prevented Section 1038 from being implemented. The FY 1996 DOT bill, approved in conference Oct. 19, merely continues the moratorium on Section 1038.