Congress votes again to extend federal transportation bill

Below is the update from Metro’s government relations staff. This is the ninth extension of the previous multi-year federal transportation bill, which was signed into law by President Bush in 2005 and expired originally in 2009. The update:

A few moments ago, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a 90-day extension of the current Surface Transportation Authorization (H.R. 4281) on a 266 to 158 vote. H.R. 4281 will now be sent over to the U.S. Senate. This extension, though free of policy changes, was looked unfavorably upon by the U.S. Senate, which called on the House to pass their Surface Transportation Re-authorization Bill (MAP-21) that passed the Senate earlier in March. The current extension, and accompanying gas taxes, expires on Sunday, April 1, 2012.

The two-year bipartisan bill approved by the Senate — known as MAP-21 — includes provisions of Metro’s America Fast Forward plan to expand a federal loan program for major transportation projects. Whether House Republicans will ever consider the bill remains to be seen.

 

UPDATE, 2:45 p.m.: The Senate has agreed to the extension. Update from Metro government relations:

The U.S. Senate has passed the 90-day surface transportation authorization extension by unanimous consent. The extension, as passed by the House hours ago, will now move to the President’s desk for his signature. This new extension (the ninth such extension since SAFETEA-LU originally expired on September 30, 2009) will expire on June 30, 2012.

Our agency will continue to closely monitor the surface transportation bills in both the House and Senate.

3 replies

  1. At this point, I say that a transportation bill that the Senate wants will never be passed by Congress. Putting faith that it will is futile with lack of bipartisanship. Keeping fingers crossed that it’s going to pass is just a waste of time. Metro should begin seeking alternative sources of funding on their own.

  2. I agree, with you Frank M! Although I am a total zealot for mass transit, esp. light rail, our country is under an enormous debt load, and there is now less Federal and State monies to share among all the competing interest trying to get a piece of said money. If you are not hopeful that our rail system will get an infusion of Federal dollars from said bill, than where is the money going to come from, because I hope we as residence of Los Angeles, do not have to curb our NEED for a rail system that serves heavily populated and under served areas of our City.

  3. Frank, the Senate bill was bi-partisan. It received 22 out of a possible 47 Republican votes. The U.S. House bill contains a very similar innovative financing tool as the one in the Senate ($1 Billion in TIFIA), which could be a boon for LA Metro. And, in terms of local versus federal dollars, LA Metro only gets for 31.2% of its transit construction funding from the Feds. That is an extremely low number when compared to other transportation/transit agencies.