Government Issues

Senate votes not to move forward with transportation bill debate

Posted on July 22, 2015


WASHINGTON, D.C. — By a vote of 41 to 56, the Senate rejected a motion to move forward with the six-year highway bill crafted by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), reported The Hill.

Democrats voted in unison against proceeding to the 1,030-page bill, arguing they had no time to review the complicated legislation, with the cloture vote to proceed to consideration of the bill needing 60 total votes. There were indications there could be a re-vote on Wednesday, however, The Hill also reported it could be an uphill battle. For the full story, click here.

Much of the controversy about the bill involves the offsets for the general funds that would be deposited into the Highway Trust Fund, including the Mass Transit Account, to pay for programs. Total offsets were estimated to cover only about the first three years of the authorized spending, and many of those offsets were somewhat controversial, according to an APTA Legislative Update.

The Senate Banking Committee title to the bill was released as part of the larger bill, but no Committee markup was held. That portion of the bill would increase the authorization for public transportation programs from $10.862 billion in the current year to $11.797 billion in FY 2016, increasing to $13.26 billion in FY 2021.

The bill also modifies the existing Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Buy America rules. It increases the domestic content requirements for rolling stock from the current 60% to 65% in Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019, and 70% in FY 2020 and thereafter. The bill further includes language on innovative and state cooperative procurements.

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