Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate have announced that they have finally come to terms on a 5-year highway spending bill, known as the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.
The bill would extend federal transportation spending to approximately $205 billion on highways and $48 billion on transit projects over the next five years. The legislation faces a deadline of Friday, Dec. 4, at which time present federal funding will expire.
Lawmakers are in a rush to finish negotiations on the bicameral multi-year transportation funding bill so that both chambers would have time to examine the deal before Friday. A final vote will be required in both chambers in order for the legislation to move upward.
The U.S. Department of Transportation had warned that it would have to stop making payments to state and local governments by Dec. 4 if Congress did not agree on at least another temporary extension.
The traditional source is revenue collected by the federal gas tax, which is set at 18.4 cents per gallon. The federal government spends about $50 billion per year on roads, but the gas tax only brings in $34 billion.