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April 13, 2023
President Joe Biden signed a 30-day extension of the Highway Trust Fund into law Saturday afternoon, ensuring that nearly 4,000 federal employees won’t be furloughed.
The transportation funding for road and transit projects, included in the stalled “hard” infrastructure bill, expired Thursday after Democratic leaders failed to unify their caucus to pass the measure. The House voted late Friday to approve the one-month extension, before the Senate passed it earlier Saturday, ending the furlough for an estimated 3,700 Department of Transportation employees.
Many of the employees who were furloughed this week worked for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Federal Highway Administration. Rep. Peter A. DeFazio, chair of the Transportation Committee, said the temporary funding bill will allow Congress more time to pass President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill and spending package.
“Now we will continue our work to pass the Build Back Better agenda into law, including a historic investment in America’s infrastructure,” the Oregon Democrat said in a statement. Republicans and other critics have expressed concern about a possible scenario where Congress continues to pass short-term extensions rather than a permanent solution.
In a statement, Jim Tymon, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, said, “While AASHTO appreciates addressing the lapse in federal highway, transit and highway safety programs caused by the failure to pass the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, short-term extensions are not a suitable way to govern.”
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NEW YORK TIMES