Congress Passes 90-Day Extension of Transportation Programs >>

March 31st, 2012

Congress Passes 90-Day Extension of Transportation Programs

On Thursday, March 29th, the House passed a 90-day extension of transportation programs (H.R. 4281) by a vote of 266-158 just days before Transportation programs and the authority to collect the gas tax were set to expire. Although the Senate already passed a bipartisan 2-year transportation reauthorization (MAP-21) and many Senators were opposed to another short-term extension, the Senate did pass the 90-day extension by voice vote. The President signed the bill on March 30th. This the ninth extension of transportation programs since 2009.

The 90-day extension is the result of the failure of the House Republican leadership and the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee to develop a bill that the Republican Caucus would support. While the Senate managed to pass a bipartisan transportation reauthorization bill (S. 1813), the House reauthorization bill (H.R. 7) was never voted on due to lack of support. House Republican leadership rejected bringing the Senate Bill for a vote and instead sought to draft a new bill that the Republican Caucus would support. However, they were not able to reach consensus within the Republican Caucus before the March 30th deadline and settled on a short-term extension instead.

Congress will now have until June 30th to either pass a long-term authorization or another short-term extension. House Republican leadership has signaled that they will continue to work to pass a multi-year transportation bill before the end of the 90-day extension. However, it is almost certain that wide differences will remain between House and Senate versions of the bill complicating a long-term reauthorization.

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