WASHINGTON - It was down to the wire on Friday, as both the U.S. House and Senate passed a 2-year extension of federal highway and transit funding, which President Obama is likely going to sign into law this week.
One of the major hurdles toward final passage, approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, was ultimately removed from the bill final during conference negotiations.
During conference negotiations to hammer out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill, conferees agreed to steal $2.4 billion from the Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) Trust Fund as opposed to the proposed $3 billion. The conferees also decided not to divert one-third of future revenues collected for the LUST Trust Fund to offset the Highway Trust Fund, which was originally proposed in the Senate bill.
The final bill also upholds a provision that states that retailers who operate roll-your-own (RYO) cigarette machines are manufacturers of cigarettes and therefore must seek all permits, pay all applicable taxes and bonding. (For more on RYO, read "Roll Your Own Profits" in the January 2012 NACS Magazine.)