The House transportation committee unanimously approved a $284 highway bill (H.R. 3) yesterday. The House version of the bill covers funding through 2009, allocating $225.5 billion to the Federal Highway Administration, $52.3 billion to the Federal Transit Administration, $3.2 billion to the National Traffic and Highway Safety Administration, and $2.9 billion to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The full House is expected to vote on the bill next week.

“The American people deserve solutions to the problems of congestion, crumbling roads and relayed shipments of freight,” said U.S. Rep. Don Young (R-AK), chairman of the Transportation Committee.

“It addresses the ever-growing challenges of congestion and safety, while continuing to improve freight mobility and public transportation,” said U.S. Rep Tom Petri (R-WI), Transit and Pipeline Subcommittee. “More than 67% of the nation’s freight moves on highways, an annual value to the economy of more than $5 trillion.”

Representative John Boozman (R-AR) will propose his hours-of-service (HOS) amendment to the $284 billion highway bill before the full House next week, said Patrick Creamer, press secretary for Boozman. The amendment would allow truck drivers to break on-duty periods with up to two hours of off-duty time.

Congressmen have backed no additional HOS amendments to the highway bill at this time, according to officials in both the House Transportation Committee and the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. A proposal has been circulating on Capitol Hill that would end a court-ordered re-examination of HOS by making the current rules law.

A Senate committee is expected to vote on its $318 billion version of the highway bill in the end of March.