At the end of March, Congress passed a three-month extension of the gas tax and transportation programs. The Senate had passed a new two-year transportation bill (MAP-21), but the House did not bring that bill up for a vote. MAP-21, as passed by the Senate, would fund some $109 billion dollars in transportation-related projects. The latest extension is the ninth since SAFETEA-LU (the most recent transportation bill) first expired in September 2009.
The House will vote today (4/19/2012) on another 90-day extension of transportation programs with language approving the Keystone pipeline in an attempt to conference with the Senate on their bill.
With the extension, some concerns remain. The transit and commuter highway vehicle (vanpool) tax benefit will remain at $125 per month, after falling from $230 per month as of January 1. The Senate bill contains a provision to increase that pre-tax amount to $240 per month.
Short term extensions are also problematic for project planning, as it fails to give local engineers and planners the funding certainty that a long-term transportation bill provides. Stay tuned to our Facebook and Twitter pages for updates on the legislative process.