House approves another short-term funding fix

May 22, 2015

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.

Republican Congressman Bill Shuster, chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, made the following statement about the extension:

“This legislation is a short-term patch necessary to get to the long-term surface transportation bill that Southwestern Pennsylvanians and the rest of the nation are calling for and need. The American people want a long-term transportation bill, our businesses want it, and I am confident that there’s a strong will in Congress to get it done. This measure simply allows us to continue funding our surface programs through the end of July, while our work continues on a fiscally responsible solution to closing the shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund and providing the long-term certainty required to make the investments that will strengthen and repair our roads and bridges.”

“Given the congressional gridlock we’ve seen over the last several years, it remains to be seen whether an acceptable multi-year funding measure can be achieved,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner. “Still, this issue seems to be gaining ground in terms of its urgency, thanks to the increasing pressure by business organizations and the public’s growing perception that a solution can’t continue to be postponed.”


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