The U.S. Senate tonight approved 81 to 13 legislation to stabilize the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) and prevent a rationing of federal highway funds for already approved projects, which the U.S. Department of Transportation was scheduled to implement during August in order to preserve a positive trust fund balance.  The House of Representatives earlier today rejected HTF legislation approved by the Senate July 29.  Senators then acquiesced to the House proposal—after voting to replace it with their own plan two days ago—to ensure the continuity of federal highway and public transportation funds before both chambers leave town for a five-week recess.

As a result of today’s House and Senate votes, the HTF will receive a nearly $11 billion infusion of resources from elsewhere in the federal budget to supplement existing trust fund revenues.  The amount is sufficient to continue existing levels of federal highway and public transportation investment through the end of May 2015.  The legislation also would extend the current authorization of the highway and transit programs from September 30 to May 31, 2015.

President Obama has signaled he will sign the House-originated measure.