US Senate passes long-term highway bill; focus now on the House

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The US Senate passed a six-year transportation reauthorization bill – the first time in years that an actual long-term bill was passed rather than a “kick the can down the road” short-term fix. Now it’s up to the House. House leaders have indicated that they will work on their version of a long-term highway & transit bill when they return to Washington after Labor Day.

The Senate’s six-year transportation reauthorization bill includes only about three years of funding from a patchwork of non-transportation related pools including a change in the federal employees’ retirement fund. AGC of Washington supports passage of the measure as the best deal possible at this time and urges Congress to continue to work on more reliable user-based funding for the final three years of the reauthorization.

Just before the Senate vote AGC of Washington members Gene Colin (Ferguson Construction) Mike Lee (Lakeside Industries) and Paul Mayo (Flatiron) along with AGC staff members Jerry VanderWood and Jerry Dinndorf met with Sen. Patty Murray (pictured) in Seattle to discuss the long-term bill. AGC thanks Sen. Murray and Sen. Maria Cantwell for their support of the long-term bill.

According to the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the bill (also known as the “DRIVE ACT”) it would provide $350 billion in contract authority from 2015 through 2021 including $8 billion for the remainder of the current federal fiscal year. And it would make changes in direct spending and revenues that would reduce deficits by $45 billion from 2015 through 2025 (i.e. the three-year pay-for).

According to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) without action in Congress 435 projects in Washington that rely on federal funding could be affected; another 101 projects could be at risk of delay.

For more information contact AGC’s Chief Lobbyist Jerry VanderWood 206.284.0061.