Senate to Vote on Highway Trust Fund Patch Next Week

July 24, 2014
AGC of America Highway Facts Bulletin
Brian Deery

On Wednesday, Senate leaders reached agreement on the way to proceed with the short-term highway and transit extension bill, which passed the House last week.  The agreement reached by Senate Majority Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) would allow for the consideration of four amendments with each requiring 60 votes to pass.  If the amendments do not receive the required 60 votes, the Senate would then vote on clearing the House-passed measure as-is, which would provide an $11 billion transfer to the Highway Trust Fund and an extension of the current transportation authorization (MAP-21) – through May 31, 2015.

Two of the amendments are of particular interest to AGC.  The first of these is a bipartisan amendment by Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) that would scale back the extension from May 31, 2015 to Dec. 31, 2014, and cut the Highway Trust Fund offset by $3 billion.  The intent of this amendment is to force Congress to deal with finding long-term revenue for the trust fund in the post-November election lame duck session of Congress.  AGC supports the intent of the amendment and is working with the offices of the three Senators to build additional support.   AGC has consistently called for Congress to address the long-term revenue in the lame duck and we encourage all Senators to support the Carper-Corker-Boxer amendment.  The second amendment, proposed by Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) – known  as “Devolution” – would eventually reduce the federal gas tax from 18.3 cents to 3.7 cents, forcing every state to either raise funding for their transportation programs elsewhere or make drastic cuts to replace the federal investments.  AGC is actively opposing the Lee amendment.

If the Senate passes any of the amendments, including the two detailed above, the bill would then have to go back to the House where there could either be a vote on the Senate bill or an attempt to work with the Senate to iron out differences between the two bills.  With time running out before the August Congressional recess, it is still uncertain as to exactly when next week this will be resolved.  However, AGC expects the extension to pass before Congress breaks for its August recess and we continue to work with Senators and Representatives to ensure that outcome.

<- Go Back