Senate favors transportation extension through February

| 12/18/2009

The U.S. House passed three measures this week related to highway funding. The Senate was expected to move quickly on one of the measures, which will extend current highway spending levels through the end of February.

The House passed its measures on Wednesday, Dec. 16, all dealing with extensions. The following bills were sent to the Senate for consideration:

  • House Resolution 64 – a short-term continuing resolution to extend SAFETEA-LU, defense spending and other outstanding issues through Wednesday, Dec. 23. This was necessary to give the Senate time to vote on other measures before holiday break.
  • HR3326 – the Department of Defense appropriations bill, which extends SAFETEA-LU through the end of February 2010. The bill passed 395-34 and was awaiting Senate approval on Friday, Dec. 18.
  • HR2847 – the Jobs for Main Street Act of 2010, which proposes to extend SAFETEA-LU through Sept. 30, 2010, and restore $19.5 billion to the Highway Trust Fund. The bill passed by a narrow margin of 217-212.

Mike Joyce, director of legislative affairs for Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, said the Senate favors the second bill.

“The second bill that was passed was the Defense appropriations bill for the current fiscal year,” Joyce said. “Hitching a ride on that bill was an extension of the current authorization bill known as SAFETEA-LU until Feb. 28 (2010).”

The jobs bill remains up for consideration but is not likely to see a Senate vote until after the holiday break, Joyce said.

“It’s a $150 billion bill that would use Troubled Asset Relief Program funding, which would direct $48.3 billion for infrastructure projects. That includes $27.5 billion for highways,” Joyce said.

– By David Tanner, staff writer