By Lauren Schapker, vice president of legislative affairs, ARTBA
The House of Representatives July 1 approved a five-year, $494 billion highway reauthorization as part of a $1.5 trillion infrastructure package. The 233-188 vote was largely along party lines in the Democratic-controlled chamber.
The bill, H.R 2, the Moving Forward Act, would temporarily solve the Highway Trust Fund’s revenue shortfall with a $145 billion general fund transfer. See ARTBA’s in-depth analysis of the $494 billion surface transportation bill.
ARTBA urged House members to support the legislation. In a June 30 letter, the association praised the robust funding levels included and emphasized the importance of enacting a bill before the current law expires Sept. 30. The ARTBA co-chaired Transportation Construction Coalition also supported passage of the bill.
The bill drew criticism from House Republicans, who were largely cut out of drafting the legislation.
Attention now turns to the Republican-led Senate, where activity has slowed since the July 2019 passage of the America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act (ATIA), a five-year, $287 billion highway-only bill from the Environment & Public Works Committee. The three remaining committees of jurisdiction — Banking, Commerce and Finance — have not released legislative text. Consideration by the full Senate is not scheduled.
The White House has threatened to veto the House legislation. The administration says it does not represent a bipartisan approach to infrastructure investment, prioritizes urban areas over rural regions, and relies on deficit spending.
ARTBA will continue working with both parties and both chambers to ensure a long-term highway and public transportation bill is enacted before Sept. 30.