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House approves another short-term funding fix

May 22, 2015 by · Comments Off on House approves another short-term funding fix
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congress progressThis week, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a short-term highway funding extension. The extension will be the 33rd short-term fix since 2008 and will authorize funding through July 31.

While short-term extensions have been accurately portrayed as Band-aids on bullet holes, the extra time gives Congress a chance to put together a more comprehensive solution for long-term funding. Many view this as a more pragmatic move than attempting to force an imperfect bill through Congress on a tight deadline. It also is viewed as better than a six-month extension, which would let the issue fester and possibly spill into an election year.

The Obama administration introduced a six-year funding proposal with a $478 billion price tag, but with Republicans controlling both chambers of Congress, most observers believe that is unlikely to be the vehicle for long-term highway funding. Read more

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Congress extends federal highway program until May 2015

August 1, 2014 by · Comments Off on Congress extends federal highway program until May 2015
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After much back and forth maneuvering between the U.S. Senate and House, Congress finally passed legislation stabilizing the federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF) until May 31, 2015.  The bill cleared the final stage in the U.S. Senate late last night by an 81 to 13 vote.  Both Pennsylvania Senators Casey and Toomey voted in favor of the final vote to extend the HTF.  The bill now heads to President Obama who indicated he would sign it into law. Read more

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U.S. Highway Trust Fund could run out by July

March 26, 2014 by · Comments Off on U.S. Highway Trust Fund could run out by July
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The federal Highway Trust Fund could run out of money as early as July, according to a recently updated projection by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

On Oct. 1, the beginning of the current fiscal year, the highway portion of the trust fund had only $1.6 billion in it. It received $9.7 billion from the General Fund, bringing its total up to $10.4 billion, but the account has already been diminished by nearly $3.3 billion since then.

The mass transit portion of the trust fund began the fiscal year with $2.5 billion, and received a transfer from the General Fund which brought its balance up to $4.5 billion. The balance stands at around $3.2 billion, as of the last week of February.

The quickly diminishing funds could mean trouble for the states. The trust fund allocates about $1.6 billion annually to the state of Pennsylvania for road construction.  The sudden loss of federal funding would, in essence, undo the transportation funding act that passed last year. Read more

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Transportation funding remains states’ problem

July 3, 2012 by · Comments Off on Transportation funding remains states’ problem
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We don’t like to rain on anyone’s parade, but we’re a little puzzled with the accolades flying around regarding Congress’ approval of a 27-month federal highway funding bill last week.

Granted, these days any measure that draws bipartisan support is probably noteworthy.  But to call it – as the Obama administration did – “a good, bipartisan bill that will create jobs, strengthen our transportation system and grow our economy” is an exaggeration.

Yes, a 27-month measure is better than yet another short-term extension, of which there had been nine since the expiration of the most recent multi-year funding bill.  The expired measure had been in place for six years – long enough to enable the highway construction industry to make longer-term plans and commitments, including investing in equipment and developing the work force.  Two years?  Not so much. Read more

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Washington drops transportation funding ball again

March 27, 2012 by · Comments Off on Washington drops transportation funding ball again
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Events in Washington the last two weeks provide further evidence of the need for states to take transportation funding needs into their own hands.

Last week, Republicans in the U.S. House succeeded in killing a Senate-passed $109 billion, two-year measure that would have supported nearly 3 million jobs.  The Senate bill passed by a 74-22 vote with bipartisan sponsorship and support.

Instead, House Republicans introduced legislation to continue funding at its current level for 90 days.  If such a measure were approved, it would make the ninth extension since the most recent multi-year federal funding bill expired more than two years ago. Read more

Video

ARTBA provides 2012 national outlook

December 13, 2011 by · Comments Off on ARTBA provides 2012 national outlook
Filed under: Video 

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9RclcFwFu4&feature=colike[/youtube]

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Update: Congress formally approves 6-month extension

September 16, 2011 by · Comments Off on Update: Congress formally approves 6-month extension
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Source:  AASHTO Journal, Sept. 16, 2011

The United States Senate put its formal stamp of approval on extending the federal highway program for another six months.  PHIA reported earlier this week that Congressional leaders were close to making a deal to delay the reauthorization of the nation’s highway program until March 2012 rather than address the issue this fall.

That deal came to fruition late last night when the Senate voted 92-6 to send President Barack Obama a measure extending authorization at current funding levels for federal highway and transit programs until March 31.  Also part of the bill was an extension for federal aviation programs until Jan. 31.  The House of Representatives passed the bill by voice vote earlier in the week without any debate.  Read more

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Chaos in Washington: Another federal extension looming

September 13, 2011 by · Comments Off on Chaos in Washington: Another federal extension looming
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While many had hoped that Congress would enact a long-term federal transportation bill, it appears that the decision will be to kick the can down the road for yet another six months.

According to several news reports, the U.S. House and Senate this week are expected to act on legislation brokered by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to extend the federal surface transportation programs for six months.  The House is scheduled to consider the measure as early as today.

The legislation would extend current levels of funding for Pennsylvania through the end of March 2012.  Most importantly, the deal is expected to extend the federal gas tax for the same six-month period.  Read more

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POSTPONED: U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Comes to PA

February 16, 2011 by · Comments Off on POSTPONED: U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Comes to PA
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PHIA Vice President Thomas Lawson was invited by the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to be a part of a special committee “listening session” to discuss the deep transportation funding problem in Pennsylvania. The committee is coming to Pennsylvania in conjunction with PA congressmen Patrick Meehan, Bill Shuster, Jim Gerlach, and Lou Barletta.

The meetings have been postponed due to pending votes by Congress in Washington. PHIA will provide new details when they become available.
Read more

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Overcoming our infrastructure deficit

June 29, 2010 by · Comments Off on Overcoming our infrastructure deficit
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Below is an article that appeared in the June 28th edition of Politico. 

By: Rep. James Oberstar
June 28, 2010 04:11 AM EDT

The U.S. surface transportation system was once the envy of the world. In recent decades, however, our roads, bridges, trains and transit have slipped into decline while other nations have made robust investments. Read more