With the Highway Trust Fund scheduled to run dry on July 31, the two chambers of Congress are concentrating on competing solutions to allow for continued funding of U.S. infrastructure projects.
While the House advanced H.R. 3038, a short-term extension of the trust fund, on Wednesday, Senate leaders said they intend to continue working toward a long-term solution to keep the infrastructure fund solvent.
The House measure would extend the surface transportation fund until Dec.18 paid for with $8.1 billion raised by continuing Transportation Security Administration fees for another two years as well as making modifications to several tax compliance laws.
Reps. Paul Ryan (R–WI), who is the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, and Bill Shuster (R–PA), who chairs the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, sponsored the House measure. They have stated that their goal is to save the trust fund to give Congress adequate time to pass a long-term transportation bill.
The Senate, meanwhile, is working on several solutions, including a highway safety and rail programs measure that could be paired with a six-year highway bill to provide long-term funding.
With less than two weeks left before the highway fund runs out of money, though, it's doubtful both chambers will be able to agree on a long-term solution.
"While the country cannot continue to rely on short-term patches as an approach to funding the nation's infrastructure, the administration supports passage of H.R. 3038 to give the House and Senate the necessary time to complete work on a long-term bill this year that increases investment to meet the nation's infrastructure needs,” a statement from the White House Office of Management and Budget said.