Congress passes another short-term extension of FAST ACT
October 29, 2021
Unable to agree on a budget reconciliation bill, Congress again kicked the can down the road regarding the nation’s infrastructure.
A bill to extend the FAST Act until Dec. 3 passed the House and Senate on Thursday, Oct. 28. It was the second short-term extension as Congress also failed to pass a new highway bill before the legislation expired at the end of September. A year ago, lawmakers were forced to extend the FAST Act for another year after being unable to get a new surface transportation bill across the finish line.
An extension means that thousands of workers will not be furloughed and projects will not be put on hold.
The most recent hold-up involves conflict over a budget reconciliation measure. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi again delayed the vote on the Senate-approved infrastructure bill until an agreement is made on a $1.75 trillion social spending plan.
“It’s disappointing when matters that have nothing to do with infrastructure continue to delay a massive investment in our highways, roads and bridges,” Collin Long, OOIDA’s director of government affairs, said.
The Senate passed a bipartisan infrastructure bill in early August, but the House failed to advance it before the deadline for the second time in consecutive months.
The infrastructure bill includes $550 billion in new spending on roads, bridges, airports, ports, electric vehicle charging stations, internet, water systems, and other infrastructure needs. The bill, however, failed to dedicate any money toward truck parking. OOIDA cited the decision not to include funding for truck parking as a major reason OOIDA did not support the bill.
OOIDA said some of the positives of the bill include that there is no measure to increase motor carriers’ minimum insurance requirements, as well as the establishment of a Truck Leasing Task Force. Among the negatives, OOIDA listed the lack of truck parking and a pilot program for under-21 drivers. More about OOIDA’s views on the bill can be found here. LL