Nearly 117,000 federal transportation projects – and 700,000 jobs – were on the line if Congress didn’t act. Tonight, Congress passed a $10.8 billion stop-gap measure that will ensure those projects will be funded through May of 2015 (via Washington Post):
The bill, approved by a 367-55 vote, would transfer $9.9 billion from the general fund and $1 billion from a separate trust fund into the rapidly dwindling Highway Trust Fund, which is expected to run in the red starting next month.
The Senate is moving toward its own short-term fix built around those two funding sources and tapping into an array of others. Rather than move forward with that bill, the Senate may amend the House bill to its liking and send it to the White House.
A small but critical difference between the two bills will have to be resolved. The House bill extends funding until May 31; the Senate bill, which contains a similar amount of cash, is open-ended.
President Obama supported the efforts made by the House, but added; “All this does is set us up for the same crisis a few months from now. So Congress shouldn’t pat itself on the back for averting disaster for a few months, kicking the can down the road for a few months, careening from crisis to crisis when it comes to something as basic as our infrastructure. Instead of barely paying our bills in the present, we should be investing in the future.”