Highway Trust Fund Bailed Out With $19.5 Billion 'Reimbursement'
While the Senate approved the bill with a somewhat bipartisan vote of 68-29 on March 17, the earlier vote was 61-30 to close debate.
On March 18, President Obama signed the"HIRE Act" (HR 2847) containing several transportation provisions including:
> "Extension of the surface transportation authorization until the end of this calendar year. The previous extension of the 2005 surface transportation authorization law known as "SAFETEA-LU" was scheduled to expire March 28.
> Deposit $19.5 billion into the Highway Trust Fund to reimburse the trust fund for interest payments not received since 1998. This will ensure the trust fund's solvency into next year.
> Provide $4.6 billion in additional federal subsidies for Build America Bonds, a program created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The bonds allow states and municipalities to finance infrastructure projects with an interest subsidy from the federal government.
> Allow the Highway Trust Fund in the future to collect interest on its deposits, as all other federal trust funds are authorized to do."