House Passes Transportation Extension Unanimously, Moves to Senate
September 14, 2011 - Posted by Lexer Quamie
Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved an extension to continue programs for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for four months and to continue federal highway, transit, and highway safety programs for six months. The current bill funding the FAA expires Friday, while the current version of the surface transportation reauthorization is scheduled to run through September 30.
An impasse on aviation spending led to a partial shutdown in August that furloughed thousands of workers. As a result, many people were pleased when the House approved the combined bill that extends highway and aviation funding through the beginning of next year.
Republicans on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee have acknowledged that the extension of funding was not the same as a long-term bill. "To build our nation’s infrastructure and put people to work, we need long-term authorizations of these programs," Chairman John Mica, R. Fla., said in a news release.
Civil and human rights groups support investing in transportation policies and construction because doing so can create jobs and expand economic opportunity for low-income and underrepresented workers.
The agreement to keep U.S. aviation, highway and transit programs operating may face challenges in the Senate. Senator Tom Coburn, R. Okla., stated he would use "all procedural tools at his disposal" to block the bill because he objects to programs in the bill designed to increase bike lanes and green space around roads.
The Senate is expected to introduce a six-month surface transportation and four-month FAA extension bill this week.