Highway funding deadline is July 31

Highway funding deadline is July 31

The House passed a transportation bill that President Obama said he would sign, a Senate committee passed a different bill, and all parties are well aware that highway funding runs out July 31. Just another summer on Capitol Hill.

The AAA, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and the Washington Post, among others, have pushed for a hike in the gas tax, which hasnêt been raised in more than 20 years and hasnêt covered highway funding for a long time. Several states have raised their gas tax. But any federal gas increase is a nonstarter for Republicans.

The $8 billion House bill would extend funding only until December. Once again, everyone agrees that a longer transportation package is critical, but no one can agree on how to pay for it. Ergo, we will likely see a short-term patch the 34th since 2005.

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee approved its portion of a multi-year transportation bill that contained a rollback of several safety regulations, mostly affecting railroads and ports. Many Democrats were unhappy with the rollback.

In any case, the House has not moved to pass any long-term bill. House Republican leaders said the short-term bill is meant as a stopgap so members of Congress can have time to write a longer term measure.

It seems likely that some kind of stopgap funding will become law before the July 31 deadline forces the Department of Transportation to stop payment to states on infrastructure projects midstream.

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