On Thursday, July 30, the U.S. Senate passed the House’s $8 billion transportation bill—a three-month extension. The extension, the 34th such measure since 2008, now moves on to President Obama for his signature to keep the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) financed until Oct. 29.
The legislation averted a Friday shutdown of transportation projects nationwide.
The extension bill passed 91-4. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) said the extension would give the House more time to work on a “fiscally responsible” proposal to take to conference with the Senate.
The gas tax, 18.4 cents per gallon, is the chief funding mechanism for the HTF and it has not been increased in 22 years.
The $8-billion bill will keep transportation projects on track for the next three months. But the temporary fix now creates a new crisis point when the fall sessions—already chock-full of high-profile fiscal issues—convene in September because Congress has been unable to agree on a long-term transportation funding solution.
President Obama signed the measure into law on Friday after it cleared the Senate 91-4 on Thursday. The House had approved the legislation on a bipartisan vote a day earlier, then U.S. representatives promptly left town for their August recess.