The U.S. Senate approved a five-year, $305 billion highway bill late yesterday, sending it to President Obama with just one day to spare before the scheduled expiration of the nation's road and transit funding.
The FAST Act will be paid for via gas tax revenue and a package of $70 billion in offsets from other areas of the federal budget; it calls for spending approximately $205 billion on highways and $48 billion on transit projects over the next five years. It also reauthorizes the controversial Export-Import Bank’s expired charter until 2019.
The bill formally reauthorizes the collection of the 18.4-cents-per-gallon gas tax that is typically used to pay for transportation projects. The $70 billion “pay-fors” would close a $16 billion deficit in annual transportation funding that has developed as U.S. cars have become more fuel-efficient.
Obama is expected to quickly sign the measure, which is the first long-term national transportation spending package in a decade.