Both sides of Capitol Hill are working to advance legislation this month to stabilize the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) and prevent the slow-down of reimbursements to state departments of transportation that federal officials say would be necessary beginning in July absent congressional action. While Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) had previously said his panel was reviewing long- and short-term trust fund options, he acknowledged last week a temporary measure in the range of six months is likely to keep funds flowing through the end of the calendar year. Wyden did not release specifics nor say if his committee had completed work on such a proposal at this stage.
The surprising defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) in a June 10 primary election has created uncertainty about how and when the House will act on legislation related to the HTF. Cantor had previously said that in June the House would take up legislation to stabilize the trust fund through May 2015. House Republicans, however, are now in the midst of internal elections to choose Cantor’s successor and fill any leadership slots that open due to members moving up in the leadership ranks. Furthermore, a number of House Republicans have been critical of the GOP leadership plan to stabilize the HTF with, among other things, savings from ending Saturday residential mail service.
ARTBA continues to urge members of Congress to complete action on a long-term HTF and surface transportation reauthorization bill and to ensure federal funds continue to flow to the states in the interim.