One day after the House overwhelmingly passed the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2011 by a final vote of 421-4, the Senate approved by voice vote on March 3 vital legislation to extend highway, transit and highway-safety programs through the end of September, clearing the measure for signature by President Barack Obama. House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) said he believed this was the last partial extension that will be needed before Congress passes the next six-year highway bill.
“This legislation will provide some stability for transportation departments in every state and allow DOTs to continue planning and constructing transportation projects through the summer construction season,” said Mica on the latest extension. “This extension of transportation programs will allow more time for the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to develop a fiscally responsible, long-term reauthorization of transportation programs to create jobs and build our nation’s infrastructure.”
“With unemployment in the construction industry at an all-time high, it is imperative that we extend the surface transportation programs through the end of the fiscal year,” said Highways and Transit Subcommittee Chairman John Duncan, Jr. (R-Tenn).
H.R. 662, the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2011, was introduced in the House by the Republican and Democrat leaders of the T&I Committee. The legislation freezes funding at FY 2010 levels for highway, transit and highway-safety programs.
According to the Associated General Contractors of America, there was word that some Senators were going to prevent the extension from moving forward, but the measure passed without much difficulty.