By Lauren Schapker, vice president of legislative affairs, ARTBA

Congress averted a government shutdown by passing a one-week funding extension that gives negotiators in both parties and chambers a little more time to reach agreement on annual spending bills. President Donald Trump is expected to sign the extension into law.

A year-end spending agreement represents an opportunity to provide supplement funds to transportation programs. Over the last three fiscal years, Congress has provided more than $15 billion in additional direct capital spending for highway, bridge, airport, and public transportation programs–above the levels authorized in surface and aviation transportation laws.

The House and Senate this year each proposed additional resources for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021. ARTBA expects supplemental investment will be included in the final package.

Separately, a bipartisan group of senators has proposed a $908 billion in additional COVID-19 relief legislation. Republicans and Democrats are struggling to compromise on the issues of liability protection for businesses and aid to state and local governments.

ARTBA and its allies will continue to urge Congress to maximize funds to surface transportation and airport construction programs to help boost economic growth and improve the safe and efficient movement of people and goods.