House passes 3-week Highway Trust Fund patch for time needed to craft long-term bill

Updated Oct 30, 2015


The House of Representatives has passed another short-term transportation funding patch, but the countdown to another deadline will go by much faster this time around.

Lawmakers in the House approved the three-week measure Tuesday, just two days before the Oct. 29 expiration date of the Highway Trust Fund. It’s the the 35th short-term HTF patch since 2008. But pushing the deadline until Nov. 20 gives lawmakers time to finalize and vote on what could be the first long-term transportation bill in 10 years.

The Hill reported the Senate is expected to pass its own HTF patch this week in order to get the president’s signature before a highway funding stoppage.

The bill, which was introduced Oct. 23, was sponsored by House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pennsylvania), fellow committee member Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) and Ways and Means Committee Chairman and the presumptive next Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin).

“Last week, the Transportation Committee unanimously approved bipartisan, multi-year surface transportation legislation, and today’s Surface Transportation Extension Act will ensure that states can continue to fund transportation projects while Congress continues to make progress on the multi-year bill,” Shuster said. 

The bill Shuster is referring to is the House’s Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2015. The Senate passed its own long-term transportation bill called the DRIVE Act in June, but the House didn’t act on it because of certain concerns regarding funding—the bill had funding for three years, but made commitments for six. But the two bills are similar enough that lawmakers think the two chambers can pass a long-term transportation and infrastructure bill and have it President Barack Obama’s desk by Thanksgiving.