Senate Approves Amended Highway Funding Patch

July 29, 2014
AGC Highway Facts Bulletin
Brian Deery

The Senate today passed an amended HR 5021, by a vote of 79-19 and sent it back to the House for further consideration. HR 5021 would have provided a nearly $11 billion revenue transfer to the Highway Trust Fund, and extend MAP-21 authorization until May 2015. The Senate, however, approved, by a vote of 66-31 an amendment sponsored by Senators Boxer (D-Cal), Carper (D-Del) and Corker (R-Tenn) that reduced the amount of the revenue transfer to $8 billion, limited the extension until December 31, 2014 and eliminated pension smoothing as a way to pay for the general fund transfer. The amendment is intended to force Congress to return after the November elections, in a lame duck session, to address a long term transportation reauthorization with a revenue increase sufficient to support it. The Senate also approved an amendment offered by Senators Wyden (D-Ore) and Hatch (R-Ut) that also changed the provisions that were to pay for the general fund transfer. AGC wrote to the Senate in support of the Boxer, Carper, Corker amendment and the Wyden-Hatch amendment with the hope of forcing action on MAP-21 reauthorization and finding the revenue necessary to support it. Two additional amendments were also considered but failed to garner sufficient support. An amendment by Senator Lee (R-UT) would have reduced the federal gasoline tax from 18.4 cents per gallon to 3.6 cents and turn over responsibility for upkeep of the federal-aid highway system, except for the interstate portion, to the states. It failed by a 28-69 vote. A second failed amendment was offered by Senator Toomey (R-Pa) that would have waived federal environmental requirements on emergency road and bridge repairs and replacements. The Toomey amendment was rejected by 47-50. AGC supported the Toomey amendment but opposed the Lee amendment. The House must now take action on the amended bill. Both the House and Senate are scheduled to adjourn by the end of the week for a five week summer recess. Action is necessary to provide the Highway Trust Fund with additional revenue before the adjournment or US DOT will be forced to slow reimbursements to states for on-going construction projects. Return to Topct

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