On Saturday, May 23, 2015, Congress passed legislation extending the current transportation authorization for two months, through the end of July. The Senate passed the measure a few days after the House approved it, prior to leaving town for the Memorial Day recess. The President is expected to sign the measure prior to the May 31 deadline.
When Congress returns, they will have eight work weeks to prepare for the next deadline. However, addressing the issue in July will be more difficult, as the Highway Trust Fund is expected to begin running out of funds in early August, meaning Congress will need to include additional revenues in the July action.
Congress will need to find $90 billion in order to fund a full six year bill. Many on the Hill hope to use revenues from tax reform to fund the program. For this to work, an extension through the end of the year, when Congress would address tax reform, would be necessary. An extension through December will require around $10 billion in additional revenue. However, some Republicans want to use tax savings to reduce tax rates instead and no other viable long term solution for the Highway Trust Fund has been identified. With no clear solution at end of year, Democrats may try and force the issue in July.