PeachPundit– With money running out to pay for maintenance and construction of roads and bridges, including here in Georgia, the House of Representatives on Wednesday passed H.R. 3038, the “Highway and Transportation Funding Act,” by a vote of 312-119. All of the Peach State’s Democrats voted in favor of the bill, along with Republicans Rick Allen, Buddy Carter, Tom Price, and Rob Woodall. Opposing the measure were Doug Collins, Tom Graves, Jody Hice, Barry Loudermilk, Austin Scott, and Lynn Westmoreland.
The measure is a short term patch that provides money through mid-December. By that time, lawmakers hope to have reached agreement on a multi-year solution to find the nations roads, bridges and transit. From the Pittsburgh, PA Tribune-Review:
The $8.1 billion House bill, passed 312-119 Wednesday, would prevent federal funds from lapsing July 31. House Republicans favor a short-term extension while they work on an ambitious plan to tie international tax changes to a six-year highway funding bill. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Hollidaysburg, who is chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said the five-month measure is necessary to buy more time to work on a longer measure. “Why are we here doing this patch?” Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said on the House floor. “So that we can give ourselves the time to do corporate tax reform.” The Obama administration supports the House measure as a path to a long-term agreement.
Seventh District Rep. Rob Woodall, who sits on the House Transportation Committee and voted for the bill, issued this statement following the bill’s passage: “America needs the certainty of a long-term surface transportation bill, and this legislation creates a bridge to achieve that goal without pulling the rug out from under existing projects across the country,” said Rep. Woodall. “I see the pathway to a long-term reauthorization that resolves the funding gaps and guarantees predictability – and this bill provides the time to do it the right way.
Eleventh District Rep. Barry Loudermilk, who voted against the measure, explained his vote this way: “Georgia cannot properly address its transportation challenges in the unstable environment of short-term extensions. This temporary fix will be the 34th time Congress has failed to provide a serious solution to transportation funding. We must have a long-term funding bill with tangible reforms. The challenge facing legislators is how to pay for the funds needed to close the gap between money raised by the federal gax excise tax and what the lawmakers hope to fund. Reluctant to raise that user fee, the long-term plan is to use funds raised by a change in corporate taxes. The bill now moves to the Senate, which is working its own separate measure to ensure long-term transportation funding.”