President Obama signed into law an extension of highway funding for two months on May 29, two days before a deadline that would have stopped infrastructure projects in their tracks, reported The Hill. The Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2015 (H.R. 2353) will extend a variety of transportation building and maintenance projects through July. The law continues funding for programs financed by the Highway Trust Fund and ensures that expenditures from and revenue deposits into the fund will not be interrupted, a White House statement said.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest pointed out that the law is the 33rd short-term funding measure of its kind since 2008, which makes it difficult for states to plan substantial, long-term highway projects, The Hill noted.
The White House has proposed comprehensive transportation infrastructure legislation, the GROW AMERICA ACT, the White House said in a May 19 statement on H.R. 2353. The administration sent a six-year, $478 billion highway bill to Congress in March to address these transportation infrastructure needs, reported The Hill on March 30.
Legislators from both parties acknowledged the need for reliable, long-term funding to preserve and expand surface transportation but also expressed doubts over how to fund a multi-year highway bill. The Hill quoted Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the ranking Democrat on the Finance Committee as saying, “Senate Democrats … understand that you cannot have big league economic growth with little league infrastructure.” Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) warned that he wants to offer people some certainty on the funding issue, but added “… I’m just not sure that we can get that done.” (Credit The Hill).