The Senate voted 81-13 Thursday to pass a $10.9 billion bill to fund highway projects through May 2015.
On Tuesday, the Senate voted to amend the House’s bill, aiming to reauthorize the Highway Trust Fund through Dec. 19, 2014. The House then voted to send its original version of the bill back to the Senate, forcing the Senate to pass the bill before the fund’s Friday deadline.
The bill now heads to the White House, where it is expected to pass.
“It is incumbent on the Congress to now focus full-bore on the end zone—enacting a long-term, sustainable revenue solution for the Highway Trust Fund before the end of this year,” said Pete Ruane, the American Road and Transportation Builders Association's president and CEO. “That will allow the Congress to then focus on developing and passing a long-term surface transportation program reauthorization bill before the eight-month May extension deadline that was just set expires. There is no reason why a funding solution needs to wait for a reauthorization bill. That’s putting the cart before the horse.”
"The good news is that Congress has avoided bankrupting the Highway Trust Fund. The bad news is that there is still no long-term certainty, and this latest band-aid expires right as the next construction season begins,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “It is encouraging that the Senate voted earlier this week to act on a long-term transportation bill this year, and I hope that they will continue working toward that goal. While Congress may be able to wait until May, the country cannot. Americans deserve a multi-year transportation bill that provides the certainty that businesses and communities deserve, creates jobs and makes necessary policy updates to lay the foundation for lasting economic growth.”