Route Fifty — By Andrea Noble — October 1, 2020
President Trump signed a continuing resolution Thursday that will avoid a government shutdown through December and provide a one-year extension of federal transportation funding. The extension of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act adds $13.6 billion to the Highway Trust Fund. The approval allows the fund to maintain its current funding levels through fiscal 2021—$47.1 billion for highway programs and $12.3 billion for transit programs. The FAST Act, a five-year comprehensive spending bill that provided $305 billion for transportation infrastructure development and maintenance, was set to expire Wednesday. The House of Representatives voted on the bill last week and the Senate approved it Wednesday. The Highway Trust Fund is the primary source of funding for many of the programs paid for through the FAST Act. But gas tax revenue that in the past filled the trust fund has been on the decline and the fund is now insufficient to cover the costs. Lawmakers said the extension would give them time to work on a long-term solution to address transportation infrastructure needs across the country. “A full one-year extension of highway funding provides states and communities the certainty required to plan for critical road and bridge projects,” said Sen. John Barrasso, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.