Senate sends 3-week transportation funding patch to Obama’s desk

Updated Oct 30, 2015

The Senate has passed a three-week patch to the Highway Trust Fund just a day before it was set to expire, sending the bill to the Oval Office.

The Hill reported the Senate followed in the footsteps of the House of Representatives—which passed the patch Tuesday—and quickly passed the short-term measure to extend road spending until Nov. 20. President Obama is expected to sign the extension into law before the deadline expires today.

“This three-week extension will allow the House and Senate to go conference on our bipartisan long-term bill and get that signed into law before Nov. 20,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky.) said.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved the six-year, $325 billion Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015 last week. But because there wasn’t enough time for a full vote with the Oct. 29 deadline looming, the 35th short-term patch to the HTF since 2008 had to be introduced.

The American Road and Transportation Builders Association said that the House is expected to begin deliberation on the long-term bill as soon as next week.

The Senate passed its long-term transportation bill called the DRIVE Act earlier this year, 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. However, Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) said the two bills are similar enough to get something on Obama’s desk sometime in November.