Senate Approves Transportation Extension; President Signs Bill

Senate Approves Transportation Extension; President Signs Bill

UPDATED 3:07 p.m.

The Senate made short work of approving a measure that will extend surface transportation spending until the end of the fiscal year. President Obama signed the bill Friday afternoon.

Senators on Thursday passed by unanimous consent an extension bill that got overwhelming approval in the House on Wednesday.

The Surface Transportation Act of 2011 extends the government's authority to spend money from the Highway Trust Fund for highway, transit and related programs.

The six-year spending plan for surface transportation expired in 2009. Since then, Congress has voted a series of short-term extensions. The last would have expired Friday.

The extension to the end of the 2011 fiscal year will allow state transportation authorities to proceed with contract-letting for summer construction programs with the assurance that federal funds will be available.

"We're pleased that Congress and President Obama acted this week to extend federal highway and transit programs by seven months, allowing thousands of construction projects state departments of transportation have planned or under construction to move forward, uninterrupted," said John Horsley, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. "Now we set about the hard work of getting a multiyear reauthorization in place later this year. This essential legislation will allow states to continue to preserve and modernize the surface transportation systems that individuals, families and businesses depend on everyday. We must get this done. "

-- Contact R.G. Edmonson at bedmonson@joc.com.

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Originally posted 1:30 p.m.

The Senate made short work of approving a measure that will extend surface transportation spending until the end of the fiscal year.

Senators on Thursday passed on a voice vote an extension bill that got overwhelming approval in the House on Wednesday.

The bill extends the government's authority to spend money from the Highway Trust Fund for highway, transit and related programs.

The six-year spending plan for surface transportation expired in 2009. Since then, Congress has voted a series of short-term extensions. The last would have expired Friday.

The extension to the end of the 2011 fiscal year will allow state transportation authorities to proceed with contract-letting for summer construction programs with the assurance that federal funds will be available.

-- Contact R.G. Edmonson at bedmonson@joc.com.