Congressional House Rules Committee to Consider Multi-Year Transportation Bill

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The Congressional House Rules Committee is set to consider a $325 billion six-year transportation funding bill. As reported by The Hill,

The measure, titled the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015, calls for spending $261 billion on highways, $55 billion on transit and approximately $9 billion on safety programs — but only if Congress can come up with a way to pay for the final three years.

The bill was approved last week by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Lawmakers are trying get it signed into law before a new Nov. 20 deadline for renewing federal infrastructure funding that was set up by a temporary patch passed this week to prevent a highway funding stoppage.

Passage by the Rules Committee, which will determine amendments that are allowed to be included in the multiyear highway funding measure, will clear the way for a potential floor vote.

Republicans in the House have been facing pressure to pass a multiyear highway bill since they rejected an infrastructure funding measure that was approved by Senate this summer. GOP House leaders balked at that bill, in part, because it contained six years’ worth of transportation commitments but only three years’ worth of funding.

By contrast, the highway bill that was approved by the House Transportation Committee last week would require lawmakers to pass new legislation to “unlock” additional funding after the initial three years, instead of guaranteeing it in advance.

Both chambers’ highway bills would maintain the federal government’s current spending level of about $50 billion per year for transportation projects, adjusted for inflation. To reach that level of spending, however, Congress will have to come up with approximately $16 billion per year to supplement revenue from the federal gas tax.