On May 29 President Obama signed a two-month extension of highway funding into law. The measure, dubbed the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2015, extends the Highway User Trust Fund (gas tax) through the end of July.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest criticized the short-term funding measure as lawmakers punting on the issue, encouraging Congress to pass a longer-term deal. The stopgap measure represents the 33rd temporary fix for road project funding since 2008.
Unfortunately there is no consensus in Congress about how to secure long term funding for highways. Leaders of both parties say they want the certainty that a multi-year bill would provide but neither side has proposed a solution palatable to the other.
The issue’s sticking point has been the source of funding for the highway as lawmakers disagree over taxes and other revenue sources that could replenish the dwindling fund. Experts predict Congress will delay the necessary debate on a permanent solution for at least another six months. Construction and transportation officials have expressed their dissatisfaction with the stopgap measure, as it leaves future funding of major projects in limbo.
Note: The federal government spends less than 1 percent of gross domestic project on infrastructure, giving the Unites States a ranking of 28 in the world.