The Senate today approved H.R. 22, the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act by a vote of 65-34. Thank you to those who have contacted their Senators over the past week, urging support for this long-term highway & transit bill. Our focus now shifts to the House, which has not yet begun action on a long-term bill. Contact your representative and tell them to pass a long-term bill when they return to Congress in September.
The DRIVE Act covers six years of funding authorization for highway and transit programs with annual average increases of approximately 3 percent. To pay for the increased funding levels, the bill would make modifications to several tax law provisions and alter other fees and revenue provisions, many of which are unrelated to transportation. The “pay fors” only cover three years of the funding increases so, if enacted, it will be necessary to find additional revenue for the Highway Trust Fund to fully fund Drive Act levels in the final three years of the authorization.
The House passed a five-month extension earlier this year that included an $8 billion transfer of general fund revenue to the trust fund to allow for consideration of a long-term bill later this year without disrupting the highway program payments to states. However, as the House prepared to leave for the five-week summer recess, there was pressure on them to adopt the Senate long-term bill. Instead of adopting the Senate bill, the House passed a shorter three-month extension and indicated that they plan to complete action on their own version of a transportation reauthorization bill. The Senate followed the House and passed the extension by a vote of 91-4. We are hopeful that the House will return in September ready to take up a long-term bill.
For more information, please contact Brian Deery at firstname.lastname@example.org or (703) 837-5319.