Senate finally passes one-month extension, but DOTs still left in the lurch

Chamber moves legislation through by a 62-38 vote, but measure does not address the cancellation of $8.7 billion in spending authority

October 01, 2009

SAFETEA-LU funding has been given another 30 days to live. The Senate, by a 62-38 count, passed a one-month extension of the highway bill, which expired at midnight on Sept. 30.

However, the one-month stopgap does not address the cancellation of $8.7 billion in spending authority for state DOTs. That money had to be committed to projects before SAFETEA-LU expired, and as a result several states lost federal funding. If Congress is going to recover that money the Senate must pass the three-month extension passed by the House last week, and add language that transfers new money from the Treasury.

However, if and when the Senate passes the three-month extension the House will still have to approve the new spending. According to Streetsblog Capitol Hill, the chances of those measure moving through before the fiscal year ends is bleak.

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