One day after the House overwhelmingly passed the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2011 by a final vote of 421 to 4, the Senate approved, by voice vote, vital legislation to extend highway, transit and highway safety programs through the end of September, clearing the measure for signature by President Obama, which also occurred Friday.
"This legislation will provide some stability for transportation departments in every state and allow DOTs to continue planning and constructing transportation projects through the summer construction season," said Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John L. Mica (R-Fla). "This extension of transportation programs will allow more time for the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to develop a fiscally responsible, long-term reauthorization of transportation programs to create jobs and build our nation's infrastructure."
"With unemployment in the construction industry at an all-time high, it is imperative that we extend the surface transportation programs through the end of the fiscal year," said Highways and Transit Subcommittee Chairman John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-TN).
H.R. 662, the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2011, was introduced in the House by the Republican and Democrat leaders of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The legislation freezes funding at fiscal year 2010 levels for highway, transit and highways safety programs.
The previous extension of programs was set to expire Friday, and this legislation is critical to ensuring that transportation programs and projects are not shut down and that infrastructure construction jobs are not threatened.