The U.S. House of Representatives Nov. 3 launched what is likely to be multiple days of floor action to consider amendments to the chamber’s proposed six-year federal surface transportation program reauthorization bill.
House leaders opted to bring up the Senate passed Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act and replace the Senate highway and transit policy sections with the legislation approved Oct. 22 by the House Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee. As a result, the Senate provisions to generate additional Highway Trust Fund (HTF) revenue, which would support three years of guaranteed highway and transit investment, would be combined with the T&I reauthorization proposal (a summary of which is available here). This maneuver also means the House does not have to come up with its own trust fund plan.
House members were working late to dispense with 45 separate amendments to the bill that were scheduled for action on the bill’s first day of consideration. House leaders say they expect the chamber to act on over 100 amendments. While a host of contentious amendments have been filed to the bill, including one that would reduce the federal gas tax and several that would raise additional HTF revenue, most of first day’s amendments were technical policy proposals.
ARTBA and our Transportation Construction Coalition allies urged House members to support a series of amendments offered today that would: strengthen the TIFIA credit assistance and loan guarantee program; highlight the role of the U.S. engineering industry to deliver transportation projects; and expedite the construction of transportation facilities damaged by natural disasters.
House leaders are expected to release a list of amendments that will be allowed to be offered Nov. 4. The chamber could continue the highway/transit bill debate into Nov. 5 if necessary. While there is still much work to be done, the House is expected to complete action on the bill this week before beginning a week-long recess that is scheduled to start Nov. 6. We will keep you posted as the House debate continues.