Senate passes one-year extension of federal highway bill

Measure included in action to prevent government shutdown

The Senate this evening approved a one-year extension of the federal highway bill, which would have expired at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday.

The extension was included in a continuing resolution (CR) passed by both chambers to avert a government shutdown. The stopgap bill pushes the deadline to pass the yearly spending budgets for the federal government to Dec. 11.

The House of Representatives approved the measure on Sept. 22 by a vote of 359-57. Senate Republicans initially refused to take up the House proposal, but both sides found compromise, and language centered around an aid package for farmers and a nutrition assistance program for children was added, ultimately pushing the legislation over the line. The Senate approved the action by an 84-10 vote.

“While we had hoped for a long-term highway bill reauthorization, this one-year extension is the next best thing,” said ATSSA Vice President of Government Relations Nate Smith. “It will provide some degree of certainty for transportation agencies, contractors and manufacturers all around the country, and that certainty will allow roadway safety infrastructure devices to continue to be installed and lives will continue to be saved as Congress works to enact a long-term, safety-focused highway bill.”

The extension is a “straight” extension of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act, better known as the FAST Act, meaning it includes no increase in funding to existing programs. The proposal includes funds needed to ensure the short-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), with a general fund transfer of $10.4 billion to the HTF, allocated for highways.

President Donald Trump was expected to sign the CR soon.

UPDATE: President Trump signed the CR on Oct. 1

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