Senate highway funding bill may leave garage, but still faces roadblocks

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After being urged by the Associated Equipment Distributors and other groups, the U.S. Senate could vote by July 31 on limited amendments to a bill that would provide continued funding to surface transportation infrastructure upgrade and repair projects.

The DRIVE Act is a bipartisan highway bill negotiated by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and other senators.

Among other things, the DRIVE Act would:

*Authorize highway and transit programs for the next six years and modestly increase annual funding.

*Provide guaranteed funding for the next three years to restore near-term certainty while Congress looks for a long-term Highway Trust Fund revenue solution.

*Create a new freight program that gives American businesses increased access to energy production, agriculture, mining and ports.

*Reduce red tape to accelerate project delivery by improving collaboration, eliminating redundancies and removing barriers that delay the process.

However, AED officials said that while the DRIVE Act enjoys bipartisan support in the Senate, the path forward for the legislation is unclear.

Even if the Senate passes the bill, it won’t be enacted into law before the current highway authorization expires July 31, AED officials said. The legislation also would need to get through the House, which already has passed its own highway and transit-funding extension through the end of the year. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has said his chamber won’t take up the Senate legislation.

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Associated Equipment Distributors

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