According to the National League of Cities, the House and Senate passed a 90-day extension last week to keep surface transportation programs alive until bipartisan agreement can be reached on Senate Bill 1813.
House members voted 266-158 to adopt the 90-day bill after days of failing to gather the required 60 percent of votes. Senators tried unsuccessfully to attach S. 1813, or Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century, to the 90-day extension. This is the ninth extension since legislation authorizing the nation’s transportation programs expired in September 2009.
Without this 90-day extension, the federal tax on gasoline would have expired, preventing the government from collecting roughly $110 million per day in federal gasoline and diesel taxes — the main source of revenue for highway and transit programs. The temporary extension also helped to avoid a shutdown of transportation programs, including a furlough of Federal Highway Administration employees and layoff of construction workers.
On March 14, the Senate overwhelmingly passed the $109 billion transportation bill that overhauls transportation programs and keeps cash flowing to thousands of construction projects while improving highway and vehicle safety. The bill introduced by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D–Calif.) would spread the billions in funding over two years and keep or create nearly three million jobs. Senators preserved bicycle, pedestrian, Safe Routes to Schools and Rails-to-Trails programs.
Additionally, the Senate passed an amendment (S. Amdt. 1825) to extend for one year the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act.
“The Senate has come together for America’s rural counties. Many communities in Washington State rely on this program to keep schools running and roads from falling into disrepair,” said U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell in a statement.