House Passes Six-Year Highway & Transit Bill

Following nearly three days of debate and the consideration of 147 amendments, the House of Representatives passed the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act (STRRA) of 2015 by a vote of 363-64.  The six-year bill is the first long-term bill to be passed in the House in a decade. The next step is for House and Senate negotiators to work out final details of the bill prior to the expiration of the current extension on Nov. 20.  Prior to the vote, AGC sent a letter urging support for passage of the bill.  In addition, the AGC –led Transportation Construction Coalition and our partners in the Americans for Transportation Mobility voiced support for passage of the Act. 

Prior to passage, a number of amendments were adopted by House.  An AGC-championed amendment to expand the mileage limit from 50 to 75 miles allowing construction drivers to reset their hours-of-service time after a 24-hour break was adopted by voice vote.  The amendment would also allow states to opt out of the increase for travel solely within a state.  An AGC-opposed amendment expressing a “Sense of Congress” in support of devolution failed by a vote of 310-118.  But potentially, the most important amendment to the bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.  Representative Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) stripped two of the Senate pay for’s that provided $19 billion for the Highway Trust Fund with a new provision that would provide $59 billion for the Highway Trust Fund.  What this means is that House and Senate negotiators must now decide on whether to use the extra $40 billion to fund the final bill for five years at increased funding levels or six years at current funding levels.   Funding and other issues will be worked out during negotiations in what is called a conference committee. 

The conference will likely start next week once the Senate agrees to go to conference and they name conferees.  A comparison of the House and Senate bills can be found here. AGC will work with conferees to ensure the final bill provides long-term stability and increased funding for federal highway and transit programs.

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