US surface transportation program extended for another 90 days
30 March 2012 0 comments
Following on from our earlier blog about the Transportation Bill, the US Senate passed a 90-day extension of the surface transportation program by unanimous consent yesterday, 29 March 2012. The bill, which is the ninth short-term extension since the SAFETEA-LU expired in September 2009, is “clean” meaning it does not include any policy or funding changes from current law. It will extend the highway and transit programs through 30 June 2012.
When the House and Senate return to session on 16 April, they will continue to try to pass a longer term bill. The Senate has already passed MAP-21 (S. 1813), a two-year bill. The House continues to struggle to find the necessary funding offsets and the votes to pass its five-year bill, HR 7. The House can either pass HR 7, or amend and pass the Senate bill instead (now introduced in the House as HR 14), or pass a resolution allowing them to skip a floor vote and go directly to conference with the Senate – a highly unusual move.
Additional implications of another short-term extension include:
- as of 30 June, the Senate two-year MAP-21 bill becomes really only a 15-month bill (extending through the remainder of FY’12 and FY’13) - not much longer than some past extension bills.
- 30 June is likely the last date prior to the November elections that Congress can realistically complete a multi-year bill. After that point, the various summer recesses begin followed by an early adjournment to campaign for the November elections.
- the longer the extensions last without any addition of new revenue into the Highway Trust Fund, the larger the deficit in the Trust Fund keeps getting.
What do you think?
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