The Highway Trust Fund authorization is set to expire on October 29th. Without an agreement on a highway funding bill, the Department of Transportation will begin cutting back on payments to states and local governments for infrastructure projects beginning in November. This summer, Congress passed a three-month highway funding extension – the 34th short-term extension since 2009. The Senate had also passed the DRIVE Act (Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy Act), a longer term six-year funding bill, which the House would not consider.
Last week, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee unanimously approved a bipartisan, $325 billion, six-year surface transportation bill to reauthorize and reform federal highway, transit and highway safety programs:
SURFACE TRANSPORTAION REAUTHORIZATION AND REFORM (STRR) ACT (H.R. 3763)
Sponsor: Rep. Bill Shuster [R, PA]
SOURCE | BILL TEXT
Bipartisan — “The STRR Act helps improve the Nation’s surface transportation infrastructure, reforms programs and refocuses those programs on addressing national priorities, maintains a strong commitment to safety, and promotes innovation to make the system and programs work better. The proposal is fiscally responsible, provides greater flexibility and more certainty for states and local governments to address their priorities, and accelerates project delivery. The bill also extends the deadline for US railroads to implement Positive Train Control technology,” according to the Committee.
In the meantime, the House will vote on another short-term extension to ensure that highway funds are disbursed past the Oct. 29 deadline. This “funding patch” would extend the deadline another three weeks to Nov. 20:
Bipartisan — H.R. 3819 would extend federal transportation spending — currently set to expire Oct. 29 — until Nov. 20.