By Dean Franks, senior vice president, congressional relations, ARTBA

The House and Senate Dec. 6 passed a two-week extension of spending authority for the seven FY 2019 appropriations that remain unfinished, including federal transportation program funding. President Trump has signed the measure.

Extra time was needed to finish work on the annual spending bills after most congressional activities this week were cancelled due to the funeral services for former President George H.W. Bush. The Dec. 21 deadline gives Congress and Trump administration two additional weeks beyond the origin Dec. 7 extension date to resolve any outstanding issues. Transportation funding will continue to be allocated to states via the programs and funding levels enacted as part of the FY 2018 spending bill.

Democrats and Republicans have signaled a desire to finish their work on the FY 2019 spending process before the end of the calendar year, though several non-transportation issues, including border security funding, still need to be resolved. If negotiators are unable to reach a deal, another extension may be necessary to keep some government programs operating beyond the holidays.

Democrats become the House majority in the new Congress starting Jan. 3. Republicans maintain their hold on the Senate.