Senate passes DRIVE Act; highway funding extended through October

From the American Highway Users Alliance

Today, in a true bipartisan showing, the Senate passed the six-year DRIVE Act, which authorizes programs and sets spending levels from fiscal years 2016 to 2021. The bill contains revenue offsets to fund the first three years of the bill, 2016-2018. If enacted, Congress would have to find additional revenue sometime before October 2018 for the final three years.

Bill managers, EPW Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) & Ranking Member Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) worked together to pull together an interesting, bipartisan majority needed to pass the bill. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) were instrumental in the effort, which garnered approximately three-quarters of the Republicans and slightly more than half of the Democrats (including Democrat-leaning Independents).

Although the bill is not perfect, the American Highway Users Alliance judged it to be excellent overall and strongly supported and promoted passage of the bill with our members, grassroots networks, and social media outlets. We encourage our members to alert us to changes you are seeking in the House. We will try to help in areas that fit broadly within our non-profit mission and have broad support within our membership.

After August recess, the House of Representatives will either amend the Senate bill or develop their own original proposal. Yesterday, the House passed a three-month extension of MAP-21 programs, through October 29th, which will theoretically provide the time needed to take action. The Senate accepted the extension today in a 91-4 vote and the President will sign it into law. Although MAP-21 programs in the extension are authorized through October, enough revenue will be included to last through approximately mid-December.

The Highway Users thanks all members, allies, and contacts through our various networks who responded to our calls-to-action on the DRIVE Act. Now, our attention will move to getting a six-year bill authorized by the House of Representatives. We thank you in advance for helping us with the hard work ahead this autumn.