After weeks of debate and months of work, the Senate voted 74-22 to pass a two-year transportation bill today—a big step in the right direction. The bill’s passage puts pressure on the House to move forward with a bipartisan effort before the current transportation bill expires March 31.
SOME GOOD, SOME BAD
While the Senate bill does not provide a needed boost for transportation funding, it does include some valuable policy changes. It will simplify the federal transportation program and focus investment on good new national transportation goals like increasing access to transit. Additionally, the bill improved over the last couple weeks with the adoption of several key amendments to provide more funding directly to local governments and for bridge repair.
IN THE HOUSE
Meanwhile, the House recently abandoned its effort to pass a terrible five-year transportation bill and will likely now consider the Senate bill as a starting point. However, it’s clear that some Republican House members are not happy with the Senate bill so there will likely be some drama over the coming weeks.