September 18, 2015
Top officials from the U.S. Department of Transportation pressed Congress to pass a substantive long-term surface transportation bill before 2015 runs out, while scores of industry groups urged lawmakers to end a cycle of short extensions and provide the economic lift a long-term bill can bring.
Increasingly in recent days, lawmakers focused on a range of other looming issues with closer deadlines, including the need to agree on a government-wide funding plan before the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year or face a potential government shutdown.
House Transportation Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa., has not yet scheduled a markup session for his committee’s version of a long-term highway, transit and rail programs authorization. He has said he expects that to occur late this month or early in October.
Congress will also need to extend the Federal Aviation Administration, whose authority is set to expire that same day, to avoid interrupting some of its programs that affect a number of state departments of transportation. Politico reported that Senate Commerce Chairman John Thune, R-S.D., said he and Shuster have been discussing how to move an FAA extension, perhaps by attaching it to a short-term government funding bill.
The Highway Trust Fund is authorized through Oct. 29, which takes it past the Sept. 30 end of the federal fiscal year and would leave the Federal Highway Administration unaffected during a possible government shutdown before then. Read on…