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House Committee Passes Six-Year Highway Bill; House Passes Short-Term Policy Patch

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Last week, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (T&I) marked up a six-year highway and transit bill (HR 3763) totaling $330 billion. The Surface Transportation and Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015 (STRR-Act) authorizes highway and transit programs for six years, but a finance title from the House Ways and Means Committee has not yet been introduced. NRMCA successfully included two amendments to the highway bill via the en bloc amendment process. One amendment, introduced by Reps. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Dan Lipinski (D-IL), would make permanent the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) hours of service 30-minute break rule for ready mixed concrete truck drivers. The second amendment, introduced by Reps. Rodney Davis (R-IL) and Dan Lipinski (D-IL), would increase the Drivers’ Record of Duty Status (logbooks) from the current 12-hour threshold in which a driver must begin logging to 14 hours. Both amendments passed unanimously by voice vote.

House T&I Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) has stated he would like to see the bill move to the House floor for a vote this week, but does not want to do so without a finance title. Many lawmakers have concerns about potential pay-fors and would not be comfortable voting on the bill lacking a finance mechanism. Chairman Shuster said he would be open to using the Senate pay-fors from the DRIVE Act; however, the DRIVE Act only provides funding for three years and the STRR-Act authorizes highway and transit programs for six. With the current authorization of highway and transit programs expiring on October 29, the House yesterday passed another short-term extension of policy (HR 3819). The extension runs until November 20 and gives members and staff approximately three weeks to work out the differences in conference. However, passing the short-term extension in the Senate will be difficult since Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Ranking Member Barbara Boxer (D-CA) opposes the legislation, including a multi-year extension of the deadline for positive train control technology (PTC). Boxer believes she can work out a deal on PTC to resolve the problem sooner rather than later; however, this bottlenecks swift passage of a highway bill extension. Regardless, members of both chambers believe they will be able to work out these differences, pass the extension and move quickly to conference a long-term bill for final passage by year’s end.

For more information, contact Kerri Leininger at

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