Obama signs 3-week transportation funding patch into law

Updated Nov 4, 2015

President Barack Obama has signed into law a three-week patch to the Highway Trust Fund to prevent a transportation funding stoppage while lawmakers attempt to pass a long-term highway bill.

It marks the 35th short-term patch of the bill since 2008.

According to the White House, the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2015 was signed into law Thursday afternoon, just hours before the Highway Trust Fund was set to expire.

The patch gives lawmakers until Nov. 20 to come up with an actual long-term bill or face another deadline to simply push the transportation funding issue down the road once again.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved the six-year, $325 billion Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015 last week, but called for a patch because there wasn’t enough time for a full vote on the long-term bill with the Oct. 29 deadline looming.

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.

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.