Once again lawmakers are kicking the can down the road when it comes to our nation’s infrastructure.
Just hours before the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) expired, the Senate voted to keep federal dollars flowing to road and highway projects for three more months. The Senate initially passed a six year extension that was rejected by the House surrounding concerns over how it would be funded.
House lawmakers, who left for a five-week summer vacation on Wednesday, are expected to draft their own long-term legislation while August’s short-term plan remains in place for now. This $12 billion provision marks the 34th extension for the HTF dating back to 2008, and will continue funding until time runs out on Oct. 29.
The fund collects and distributes money to states to build and maintain road and transit projects across the country through federal taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel, with the remainder of the funds coming from taxes on tires, trucks, trailers and other kinds of vehicles. The Highway Trust Fund regularly owes states more money than it collects in tax receipts.
This bill marks the 34th extension for the Highway Trust Fund since 2008.
The extension was sent to President Obama the following day for his signature, but this did not come without criticism from the President. Obama voiced frustration with Congress for selecting a temporary measure saying “it’s a bad way for the U.S. government to do business.”
While this temporary fix gives the House time to develop a plan that might actually count, it’s time for the President and Congress to work together and pass a long-term spending plan to repair and rebuild our nation’s infrastructure.
Remember: A six-year transportation bill of at least $100 billion annually would support upwards of 2.18 million American jobs and rebuild our underperforming infrastructure, according to Duke University CGGC.