Congress blocks $7.6B highway funding rescission in short-term funding bill

Nov. 22, 2019

The rescission of Highway Trust Fund contract authority was originally set to take effect in July 2020

Congress this week passed another stopgap spending bill that extends through December 2020, which includes a provision that would block a threatened $7.6 billion rescission of highway funding.

The rescission of Highway Trust Fund contract authority was originally set to take effect in July 2020 under the provisions of the 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. If carried out, the rescission would have meant that highway funding provided by Congress would be taken back, impacting all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

President Trump signed the bill later in the day, just hours before the previous continuing resolution was due to expire.

Several key industry groups have expressed their gratitude to lawmakers for supporting the elimination of the highway funding rescission.

"On behalf of the 50 state departments of transportation, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, that unanimously supported rolling back this rescission, I extend our thanks to the leadership in the House and Senate, committee leaders and their staffs, and the president for removing the threat of disruption and potential delays in the coming construction season,” AASHTO Executive Director Jim Tymon said in a statement. “The resolution of this issue comes at a time when states are preparing their budgets for the coming construction season, eliminating potential uncertainty that could have delayed important transportation infrastructure investments.”

NAPA President & CEO Audrey Copeland also praised this move by lawmakers, acknowledging it will keep state highway programs on track. However, she also stressed the urgency for Congress to pass a long-term funding solution for surface transportation.

"This is a positive step, but it only addresses short-term needs," Copeland said in a statement. "NAPA urges Congress to move forward with full reauthorization of the nation’s surface transportation programs. The Senate has before it America's Transportation Infrastructure Act, but it lacks a robust funding source. To ensure American infrastructure meets the needs of today and the future, Congress has to make passage of a robustly funded, long-term surface transportation program a priority."

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