On Friday, President Barack Obama signed the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (HIRE) (H.R. 2847), which includes an extension of authorizing law for federal transit and highway programs through Dec. 31, 2010.
The HIRE Act also transfers $19.5 billion of general funds from the Treasury into the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), including $4.8 billion into the Mass Transit Account. These funds are based on the restoration of interest payments on balances to the HTF and ensure the solvency of the Mass Transit Account through the end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2011.
It also expands the Building America Bonds program, originally created by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, which subsidizes municipalities issuing taxable debt by reimbursing the issuer directly for a percentage of the interest payments. This program has helped states and local governments borrow at lower costs to finance infrastructure projects and create jobs.