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.