highway trust fund

Senate Passes Long-Term Highway Bill, Short-Term Extension

Inhofe and Boxer conferred before an interview with CQ Roll Call about the highway bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 2:14 p.m. | The Senate passed its long-term highway bill (HR 22) shortly after noon Thursday, and then agreed to a House-passed three-month extension (HR 3236) before completing work for the day.  

The margin for final passage of the long-term bill was fairly healthy, 65-34. The House's patch was passed in overwhelming fashion: 91-4.  

Boxer, Inhofe Want to Avoid Highway Bill Trick or Treat

Boxer and Inhofe discussed the highway bill in the Environment and Public Works hearing room. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Ask Sens. James M. Inhofe and Barbara Boxer about most issues, and they will disagree.  

But when it comes to building roads and bridges, the conservative Oklahoma Republican and liberal California Democrat are in lockstep. That was on full display during a rare joint interview Tuesday afternoon, as they encouraged the House to move quickly after the Senate on a six-year highway bill, rather than allow the expected three-month extension to turn into a punt right up to another deadline ahead of Halloween.  

Just How Long Is the Senate's Highway Roadmap?

Inhofe and Boxer unveiled their chunk of the highway bill June 23. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate might actually try to follow-up a long overdue education reauthorization with a real highway bill.  

Just how long the Senate's surface transportation bill will run remains a mystery, but Republicans and Democrats want to go much further than the House's latest patch job.  

Wyden Focused on Finding Bipartisan Funding for Highway Bill (Video)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., is keeping his options open on how to fund a new highway bill in order to help foster a bipartisan solution.  

“Nothing has been agreed to, nothing has been ruled out, nothing has been ruled in,” Wyden told reporters Tuesday. “And the way it's going to work is by the end of today, early tomorrow morning, we'll have a bead on what members of the Finance Committee want to do and then we'll go from there.”  

Highway Bill Could Consume Petri's Last Months in Congress

Rep. Tom Petri (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Tom Petri announced Friday that he will retire from Congress at the end of the year, and he's poised to go out with a legislative bang — or a whimper.  

The 73-year-old Wisconsin Republican's last eight months on Capitol Hill will likely be consumed with negotiations over legislation to reauthorize funding for the nation's highway and transit programs in his role as chairman of the subcommittee of jurisdiction.  

The Giant Transportation Budget Gap in One CBO Chart

The Congressional Budget Office, in one chart, sums up the looming disaster in the nation's highway trust fund:  

Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 12.58.12 PM The chart shows the yawning gap between projected revenue for highways and projected spending. That gap is set to grow thanks in large part to two factors: the fact that the gas tax wasn't indexed to inflation and thus is stuck at 1993 levels, and improving fuel efficiency, which reduces gas tax revenue even further. The CBO says if the gas tax had been indexed for inflation in 1993, it would have gone from 18.4 cents a gallon then to 29 cents a gallon today.