ROADS/BRIDGES: Resignation of House Speaker leaves highway-funding outlook hazy

Sept. 28, 2015

The Highway Trust Fund's deadline is a month away with all funds running completely dry Nov. 20

House Speaker John Boehner's announced that he plans to resign as Speaker and from his House seat on Oct. 30 clouded the outlook for a broad range of issues. 

The Highway Trust Fund would not be at risk if lawmakers let the broader government funding authority expire on Sept. 30. However, the trust fund will soon face a separate Oct. 29 deadline for its own expiration, and its cash balance could run too low in November.

Whoever leads the majority Republican caucus in the House would be able to greatly influence the agenda on issues including how to fund the Highway Trust Fund and other surface transportation programs, and when to move an extension or a long-term bill.

Meanwhile, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has not yet released its version of a long-term reauthorization of highway, transit and passenger rail programs, or scheduled a time for its members to mark up a bill.

In addition, the Ways and Means Committee has not revealed how it plans to pay for a surface transportation bill.

The U.S. DOT is warning the trust fund's highway account is on course to fall below safe levels on Nov. 20 if Congress does not provide it with more revenue before that deadline. 

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