The House of Representatives in early December approved a continuing resolution (HR 3082) funding the federal government until Sept. 30, which marks the end of the current fiscal year. The resolution also extends authorizations for federal highway, mass transit, and aviation programs from Jan. 1 to Sept. 30. (To see a blog post about this from Aggregates Manager’s sister magazine, Better Roads, go to http://www.betterroads.com/safetea-lu-extended-again-again/.)
According to the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) reading of the continuing resolution, or CR, it “will give state DOTs a full fiscal year of authorization to plan for their 2011 construction season. The Federal Highway Program will receive a total of $41.9 billion in contract authority that FHWA (Federal Highway Administration) will allocate to the states under the SAFETEA-LU formula. The CR will provide $41.1 billion for the Federal Highway Program for 2011, the exact amount provided for in 2010. There are no earmarks of any kind in the Continuing Resolution — $41.1 billion is the amount states can actually spend on their Federal Highway Program in 2011.”
The Senate also voted 79-16 on Dec. 21 to temporarily extend federal highway and transit programs, as well as appropriations for the U.S. Department of Transportation and other government agencies, until March 4, according to a report from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).
Funding for the federal government under the just voted on CR was set to expire Dec. 21, and temporary authorization for highway and transit programs had been set to expire on Dec. 31.
This current “stop-gap measure” would be the sixth short-term extension of the 2005 SAFETEA-LU surface transportation authorization law, which originally expired on Sept. 30, 2009.
The previous surface transportation bill, the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991, was extended 12 times before SAFETEA-LU was signed into law.
To see the 28-page section of the continuing resolution dealing with transportation reauthorization, go to http://bit.ly/HouseCRtext.
An audit by the Department of Labor’s Office of the Inspector General reveals that 56 percent of ‘experienced’ journeymen MSHA inspectors aren’t trained properly.
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