6-year Transportation Reauthorization Passes Committee; 3-Week Extension Introduced

The bipartisan, $325 billion STRR Act unanimously passed the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Oct. 22. A three-week transportation funding extension bill was also introduced, as the Highway Trust Fund expires on Oct. 29.
October 25, 2015, 11am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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"The Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee today unanimously approved the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform (STRR) Act of 2015 (H.R. 3763), a bipartisan, multi-year surface transportation bill to reauthorize and reform federal highway, transit, and highway safety programs," states the committee's press release on Thursday, Oct. 22.

"This bill was developed with Subcommittee Chairman Graves (R-Mo.), Ranking Member DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Ranking Member Norton (D-DC), and includes input from both sides of the aisle and the stakeholder community," states an Oct. 20 press release.

However, "(t)he timing for the full House to consider the committee's long-term bill was uncertain," according to AASHTO Journal. "T&I Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa., told reporters he was "not sure exactly what the timing is" for when it would move to the House floor — "possibly next week or the week after, but I believe it will be in short order."

Current transportation spending is authorized by the three-month Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015 (H.R. 3236), which expires on Oct. 29, making it necessary to pass a 35th transportation funding extension. On Friday evening, the committee did just that, writes Keith Laing for The Hill. "The measure (H.R. 3819) would extend federal transportation spending — until Nov. 20."

GOP leaders said Friday that the three-week highway funding package could come up for a vote on the floor of the House as early as Tuesday, which give(s) the Senate two days to take up the patch before the scheduled expiration of the current transportation funding law. 

As posted earlier, current funding could potentially last till June, though Laing shortens the period till "the end of the year," so Congress must only agree on the language. Laing adds that "(t)he Department of Transportation has warned that it will have to stop making payments to states and local governments for infrastructure projects in November if Congress does not reach an agreement."

The Congressional agreement for a three-year extension of the compliance with the Positive Train Control requirement is included here in the extension bill (H.R. 3819).

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Published on Saturday, October 24, 2015 in The Hill
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