Congress Likely To Punt Surface Transportation Reauthorization Into Next Year

It is all but certain that Congressional action on the next comprehensive surface transportation bill will have to wait until next year.

Current surface transportation authorization is set to expire September 30 and there are several reasons why a transportation bill is not likely to be agreed to this year.

To begin, lawmakers are more concerned about the upcoming elections.

Many Democrats are hesitant to compromise on a bill with Republicans before the elections because many of them believe there will be a “blue wave” and Democrats will regain control of the Senate and the White House, therefore allowing them to pass their own bill without having to compromise with Republicans.

Lawmakers are more focused on COVID-19 related legislation and securing relief funding.

House Democrats recently approved a comprehensive infrastructure bill known as the “Moving Forward Act” (H.R. 2) totaling $1.5 trillion which includes the bill originally passed by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and it adds sections on water and energy infrastructure, broadband, housing and schools, healthcare and aviation.

Click Here for a complete breakdown of provisions important to fuel marketers in H.R. 2 that was passed mainly along party lines.

Although the House passed the bill, the Senate is not expected to bring it up for a vote anytime soon due to strong Republican opposition.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called the bill “a multi-thousand-page cousin of the Green New Deal masquerading as a highway bill” and said the package had no chance in the Senate. H.R. 2 currently lacks a full “pay for” meaning it is unlikely that a transportation bill will be signed into law this year.

The Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee also marked up its own surface transportation bill, S. 2302, nearly a year ago but the other three Senate committees with jurisdiction over the issue have yet to work on the bill.

It is unclear when the Senate will move forward with their bill, making it increasingly likely that Congress will pass a continuing resolution to extend the surface transportation authorization into 2021.

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