By David Bauer, senior vice president of government relations, ARTBA
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) July 8 said the chamber will likely take up a bill dealing with the authorization of the highway and public transportation programs next week. In making this announcement, McConnell said there won’t be a gas tax increase. He also expressed skepticism about the Senate finding the resources for the highway program reauthorization proposal approved June 24 by the Environment and Public Works Committee and doubted there is enough time put together a plan to use repatriated tax revenue to pay for a long-term reauthorization bill before latest short-term extension expires July 31.
McConnell did not indicate any details of the legislation—including its duration. The situation is very fluid and ARTBA will continue to provide reports on developments as they occur.
In a related development, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx reportedly dismissed another extension. While Foxx did not threaten a presidential veto, he pre-emptively noted, “I think we’re quickly getting to a point where the value of another extension may be less than the value of breaking the cycle.”
Foxx also pointed to the Administration’s May 19 official policy statement on the last surface transportation program extension, which reads: “The Administration will not support continued failure in making the investments the Nation needs. The Administration expects that the Congress will use this two-month extension to make meaningful and demonstrable progress towards a significant bill in 2015.”
The situation is very fluid and ARTBA will continue to provide reports on developments as they occur.