Two weeks ago, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would fund federal transportation projects through mid-December to avoid the July 31 legislative deadline. While this would divert a summer construction catastrophe, delaying Congressional agreement on a multi-year path forward is not an ideal option because short-term extensions make it difficult to plan and build multi-year transportation projects. This week the U.S. Senate is attempting to complete work on a bipartisan, long-term bill and get it over to the House for their consideration before July 31.
Over the weekend, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) managed to steer the bill away from legislative potholes that threatened to slow passage of the bill. The Senate defeated an amendment to the transportation bill that would have repealed Obamacare and voted to debate reauthorization of the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank and possibly attach it to the six-year highway & transit bill. Tonight we expect a final vote on attaching Ex-Im to the bill (which many anticipate will be approved) followed by a vote to end debate on the transportation bill and move towards final passage of the legislation by mid-week.
The Senate bill:
- Provides six years of policy reforms and contract authority for highways and transit programs, thus ending the cycle of short-term, multi-month program extensions;
- Provides three years of dedicated revenue to the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) so states can deliver more long-term projects;
- Increases funding levels for highway, transit and passenger rail programs in order to reduce our nation’s maintenance and construction backlog;
- Provides for a new national dedicated freight program to improve goods movement; and
- Contains bipartisan permitting reforms that would set deadlines for project decisions, increase transparency and reduce litigation delays.
Please take a moment today to urge your members of Congress to approve this legislation before the July 31 deadline and allow the nation’s transportation infrastructure programs to create jobs and grow the economy in the coming years. Here’s how you can help:
- Contact your members of Congress via letter or phone call: Send your legislators a quick note or call them and urge their immediate support!
- Communicate with your members of Congress via social media: Most members of Congress have Facebook and Twitter pages. In addition to calling or writing a letter, urge them to #FixTheTrustFund on social media.
- Ask others to take action: Use the text in this blog to Send your friends, family, and coworkers an email asking them to contact their members of Congress. Don’t forget to add a sentence or two about why passage of a long-term transportation bill is important to you.