House votes down Senate’s highway bill, sets up must-act situation for Senate

RoadToCapitol-BetterRoadsThe Senate now must choose Friday whether to accept the House’s 10-month highway funding patch or allow the Highway Trust Fund to go bankrupt, which would be construction projects around the country at risk, along with an estimated 700,000 jobs.

The House voted 272-150 on a motion to “disagree” with the Senate’s changes to its bill. The House is now adjourned for a five-week recess.

The Senate is in session Friday, Aug. 1, before taking its recess, and unless it passes the House’s version of the highway funding patch as-is, the Department of Transportation will begin restricting reimbursements to states for highway projects, as the Highway Trust fund is projected to run dry in August.

The Senate passed its short-term funding patch Tuesday, but slightly changed the revenue source (from the House’s “pension smoothing” option) and shortened it from May to December.

That bill then went back to the House, where the lower chamber opted against changing its original bill, which was passed earlier this month.

The Senate version was preferred by trucking trade groups, because it would force Congressional action this year, rather than dragging out the debate into the spring.

This post was written by James Jaillet, Associate Editor of Overdrive Online.