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The House and Senate have adjourned for the weekend without passing a further extension of authorizing law for federal surface transportation programs, and the current extension of SAFETEA-LU expires on Sunday. As a result, most Federal Transit Administration (FTA) programs, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) programs, and other programs funded by the Federal Highway Trust Fund will lapse beginning Monday. FTA employees will be able to continue working next week because they are paid out of the General Fund, but FTA will be unable to process most grant applications. However, FTA should be able to continue processing grants under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). All FHWA employees are expected to face a temporary furlough.
The House and Senate attempted to pass a short-term extension of transportation programs by today, but that attempt failed when Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) blocked efforts on the Senate floor by threatening a filibuster. Congressional staff have advised APTA that House and Senate leaders have reached agreement on all issues related to the year-long extension of programs contained in the Senate-passed jobs bill, the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (HIRE Act), which delayed a House vote this week.
Both chambers are expected to work next week to enact the extension of transportation programs through December 31, 2010.