House Passes Highway Funding Patch - Action Shifts to Senate

July 16, 2014
AGC of America Highway Facts Bulletin
Brian Deery

The House yesterday, by a vote of 367 to 55, approved H.R. 5021, a $10.8 billion Highway Trust Fund patch which provides sufficient revenue to maintain current funding levels through May 2015. The bill also extends MAP-21 authorization for the highway and transit programs for those eight months. The bill received strong bipartisan support from 181 Republicans and 186 Democrats, while 45 Republicans and 10 Democrats voted against. Revenue needed to support the patch came from a general fund transfer which was off- set by a variety of tax code adjustments including extending customs fees on importers, taking money from the leaking underground storage tank fund (LUST) and changing rules on private pension contributions. AGC and our coalition partners in the Americans for Transportation Mobility (ATM) and the Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) urged the House to support H.R. 5021.

The action now heads to the Senate where there is expected to be debate about limiting the extension until December 31, 2014 with the hope of forcing consideration of a long term transportation bill with sufficient revenue to support it following the mid-term elections in November. It is expected that, when H.R. 5201 is brought to the Senate floor for a vote, an amendment will be offered by Environment and Public Works Committee Chair Barbara Boxer (D-Cal) to limit the extension to the end of the calendar year. The Senate Finance Committee has already passed a bill that provides the same amount of revenue as the House bill, although using some different off-sets for the general fund transfer. It is expected that the Finance Committee bill will also be offered as an amendment. If either amendment is adopted the bill will then be sent back to the House for approval.

It is fully anticipated that a patch will be approved before Congress leaves for its August summer recess. Additional revenue for the Highway Trust Fund is necessary in order to avoid a slowdown in reimbursements to states for on-going highway construction projects in the next few weeks.

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