By voice vote, the House approved HR 2887, the Surface and Air Transportation Programs Extension Act of 2011. The legislation extends authorization of the federal highway and transit programs for six months and the aviation programs for 4 1/2 months.
Included in the legislation is the authority to continue collecting the federal motor fuels tax, which is set to expire on Sept. 30. The legislation also extends authority to collect the airline ticket tax that supports that the Airport and Airway Trust Fund. The bill now goes to the Senate, where action is necessary before Friday, Sept. 16 to avoid a second partial shutdown of FAA programs. The bill contained no policy provisions in an effort to avoid disputes that could keep the bill from moving forward in a timely fashion. However, there may be attempts to amend the bill in the Senate, which could impact its timely approval.
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) and other key members of the committee issued a statement saying that it is their intent to get to work to complete action on long-term authorization measures for both the surface transportation and aviation programs.
Mica said, “To build our nation’s infrastructure and put people to work, we need long-term authorizations of these programs.”