Congress beat the clock, again, and approved a 90-day stopgap measure March 29 to continue paying for the nation’s The New York Times.and infrastructure, three days before funding would have expired. It was the ninth time Congress has passed an extension in lieu of a multi-year authorization for transportation funding, according to
The temporary measure passed the House by a vote of 266 to 158, with the Senate approving it later by voice vote. The move follows months of intense debate over transportation funding, reflecting partisan divisions over how to replenish the highway trust fund that pays for roads and infrastructure projects.
A bill approved earlier this year in the Republican-controlled House transportation committee would have provided $260 billion in transportation funding over five years, paid for in part with revenues from new drilling projects in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other areas. The proposal also would have ended the three-decades practice of dedicating a share of the 18.4 cents per gallon gas tax to pay for .
The House measure quickly faded in the face of a stream of criticism. State and local governments objected to being shut out of gas tax revenues, and some Republicans balked at the bill’s price tag and the drilling component. The measure never came to a full vote.
In March, the Senate passed a two-year, $109 billion transportation bill, but House leaders said the bill did not include offsets in the budget to pay for it. The House declined to take up the Senate bill. Now both houses have 90 days to work out a compromise – or pass another extension.