Highway Bill Misses Thanksgiving MarkCompromises Pave Progress for Congress
The House of Representatives has failed to pass the Highway Bill since it first announced its Thanksgiving plans of delivery. Without much shock, to the general public, this would make for the 36th straight short-term patch to the Highway Trust Fund. The patch will extend funding through December 4th as Congress continues to work out the compromise bill.
Previously the House successfully passed the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act on November 5th while the Senate passed its version which lacked the needed funded for six years.
The House approved the Drive Act with a spending budget of up to $261 billion on highways and $55 billion on transit over six years. The qualm with this is that the legislation includes just enough money to pay for the first three months.
“I am very pleased, that after ten years of short-term band-aids and extensions, the House finally passed a bipartisan, six-year transportation bill,” said Rep. DeFazio (D-OR).
The statement came after many waited with bated breath in hopes of a positive change to the already under fire transportation industry. The Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform (STRR) Act of 2015 (H.R. 3763) has faced many changes since then.
You may recall the original Highway Bill passed by the Senate (DRIVE Act) back in July which also faced serious criticism for its unrelated amendments by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) which included defunding Planned Parenthood and repealing the Affordable Care Act.
“The STRR Act differs from the Senate’s DRIVE Act passed in July in two important ways that help prevent the tolling of existing interstates: the House bill requires states to have enabling legislation before the tolling pilot can be implemented and does not allow the diversion of toll funds for purposes other than improvements to the tolled road,” the Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates said in a statement.
The Surface Transportation Conference Committee, comprised of the House and the Senate, met today at 10 a.m. to continue the discussions. Companion legislation will definitely be on the topic of discussion and you can find out more at transport.house.gov.
Fact: This will be first multi-year highway bill to be passed in 10 years, that extends funding beyond a 2 year period.
View the bill here: http://transportation.house.gov/uploadedfiles/highway_bill-11.12.15.pdf