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November 16, 2015 7:30 PM, EST

House Passes Highway Trust Fund Extension Through Dec. 4

Shuster by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News

Funding authority for highway programs would be extended through Dec. 4 under legislation the House easily passed Nov. 16.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is meant to give transportation leaders on Capitol Hill a few extra weeks to finalize a multiyear highway policy bill. The short-term measure is backed by the committee's ranking member, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and Ways and Means ranking member Sandy Levin (D-Mich.).

Current funding authority for the trust fund expires Nov. 20. The Senate still needs to act on the measure. The short-term extension would avoid disruptions in federal aid to state transportation agencies. If passed by the Senate, it would mark the 36th such funding extension for the Highway Trust Fund since 2009.

Congressional transportation leaders in the House and Senate are meeting this week to finalize a multiyear highway policy bill meant to keep the trust fund solvent for at least three years.

“The House and Senate are making good progress in resolving differences between their respective multiyear surface transportation reauthorization proposals. The conference committee needs the time necessary to meet in public, complete negotiations and produce a final measure that helps improve America’s infrastructure,” Shuster said. “This clean extension provides time for that process to occur and for the House and Senate to vote on the final legislation, without shutting down transportation programs and projects in the meantime.”

The legislation transportation policymakers are considering calls for reforming the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability program. The legislation also would establish a graduated commercial driver license program designed to start the process of allowing drivers between the ages of 19 1/2 and 21 to operate trucks in interstate commerce.