Posted on April 19, 2012 4:22 PM
House Proposes 90-Day Transportation Extension, Senate Appropriations Committee Passes FY 2013 Transportation Budget
On April 18, 2012, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a proposal to extend the current federal transportation authorization program through September 30, 2012, by a vote of 293 in favor and 127 opposed. The bill, H.R. 4348, would not include changes proposed earlier this year by the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act (AEIJA), including an expansion of domestic energy production and the decoupling of transit funding from the federal Highway Trust Fund. The bill would approve the Keystone XL pipeline, a move the Administration has threatened to veto.
The House approved three amendments to H.R. 4348. The first would require that all revenues accruing to the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund be spent on applicable projects each year, the second would add the environmental streamlining provisions from AEIJA to the bill, and the third would insert the Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act. The first and third amendments were agreed to by a voice vote, while the environmental streamlining amendment passed by a vote of 255 in favor and 165 opposed.
The bill now moves to the U.S. Senate. It is expected that the Senate will strike all the language after the enacting clause, substitute the text with the Senate’s transportation reauthorization bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), and then pass the amended bill. This maneuver would allow a conference between the Senate and House.
In other news, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee approved a combined $53.4 billion budget for the U.S. Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development on April 19. The bill would provide $39 billion for highway programs, $2 billion for transit, $1.8 billion for rail projects, and $956 million for aviation. It would also provide $500 million for a fifth round of the Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) competitive grant program. The two agencies receive $57.3 billion in the current fiscal year.