Congress has put the brakes on efforts that would require new federally funded highway projects to incorporate more stringent stormwater controls.

Lawmakers from the Bay region were in the forefront of efforts to incorporate the provision into the House version of the Federal Surface Transportation Act, and the governors of all six states in the Bay watershed joined to sign a letter touting the benefits to the Bay of such an action. (See "6 Bay governors unite in drive to put runoff controls in highway bill," July-August, 2008)

Now it appears the legislation will not pass this year. Although the House was expected to pass the measure, which would set national transportation priorities for the next six years, the Senate and the Obama administration instead support extending the current transportation bill for another 18 months because of a shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund that must be addressed.

As a result, House leaders are expected, for now, to drop their version of the bill with the stormwater provisions.