Legislative Update: Congress Expected to Pass Short-term Extension of MAP-21

Today, the House of Representatives is expected to vote on another short-term extension of MAP-21 that would continue current law through November 20. As previously mentioned, this short-term patch was anticipated despite the House and Senate’s efforts to pass a long-term reauthorization of surface transportation programs. This patch, however, is hoped to be the last.

Just last week, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee marked up and unanimously advanced a six-year authorization of policy and spending for federal highway and transit programs known as the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform (STRR) Act of 2015. While committee leaders hope to bring the bill to the floor for a vote this week or next, it still lacks a revenue title to make up for the estimated $85 billion shortfall for the Highway Trust Fund. Once the House does pass its reauthorization bill, the legislation will move to conference with the Senate’s six-year reauthorization bill known as the DRIVE Act. During the conference process, appointed members from both chambers will work to resolve the differences between the two bills. Meanwhile, the current extension of MAP-21 is set to expire this Thursday, October 29, which makes another short-term extension necessary to complete work on a final long-term package.

While Congress buys itself more time to complete their work on a final reauthorization bill, it remains critical that counties engage their congressional leaders. As the House continues to work on the funding for their reauthorization bill, please communicate the need to fully-fund the six-year proposal so that counties can truly have the certainty necessary to plan and undertake major transportation projects.

*Key Talking Points for the House:*

Counties support the STRR Act because it provides a multi-year framework and policy reforms that will help counties respond to the needs of their communities and make critical infrastructure investments.

Specifically, counties are encouraged by provisions in the STRR Act aimed at expanding the amount of funding available for locally owned infrastructure, increasing the amount Surface Transportation Program dollars distributed to local governments, supporting urban and rural public transportation and expediting project delivery.

Additionally, counties are encouraging the House to fully fund this six-year reauthorization bill. Without sufficient funding to support all six years of the STRR Act, counties will lack the long-term certainty they need to undertake transformative transportation investments.

*Additional Resources and Materials:*

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