Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., touted an upcoming vote on a transportation bill as "one of the most important issues Congress will deal with this entire year."
"There is no such thing as a Republican road or a Democrat road — this issue always transcends the political fights in Washington," Inhofe said Saturday during the weekly Republican address. "The DRIVE Act ... provides the needed long-term funding certainty so that the major construction projects can get off the ground — projects that aren't possible with short-term extensions."
Inhofe, who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, noted Congress has passed 33 short-term "patches" since 2009 rather than a larger spending package to support highway infrastructure.
He said the stopgap measures only allowed states to perform maintenance work and minor fixes, such as filling in potholes.
More than half of all American roads are rated mediocre or worse, and one in four bridges are in need of "significant repair," he said.
"With the DRIVE Act, we can rebuild Eisenhower's vision, fight growing congestion, and maintain the mobility of good and services necessary to move our economy forward," he added.
The transportation bill has become a source of GOP infighting as senators scrambled to tack on unrelated amendments to the legislation. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell drew fire from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, after he allowed the addition of an amendment to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank but blocked others put forward by Cruz.
The Senate is expected to hold a session on the bill on Sunday.