The House approved the five-year, $305 billion the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, or FAST Act, today, advancing the first long-term national transportation spending package in a decade.
The 359 – 65 vote comes one day before federal infrastructure funding runs out, and sets up a likely Senate vote to pass the measure before Friday’s deadline. All dissenting votes were cast by Republicans.
"If passed, this legislation would be a real step forward for our transportation infrastructure after years of short-term patches," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said during a press briefing.
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.