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American Public Transportation Association

 Further Update on Developments Related to Surface Transportation Bill in the U.S. Senate


Over the past few days there have been several procedural issues that have resulted in changes to the bill. While the 1,030 page bill was introduced late Tuesday, on Wednesday evening, the Senate agreed to move more money into the Mass Transit Account from the Highway Account of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) to ensure that the Transit Account would not run dry before the Highway Account. The agreement also moved funds from TIFIA and the Assistance for Major Projects Program (within the Federal Highway program) to the FTA state of good repair formula program. 
On Thursday night, the Senate leadership decided to remove another offset that would fund the highway and transit bill currently being considered on the floor, resulting in cuts to both highway and mass transit account programs. A $1.7 billion "pay-for" related to unused funds in a Treasury program that supports state Housing Finance Agencies was cut from the bill, and the authorizing committee staff was instructed to quickly find cuts to both highway and transit programs. Due to the earlier agreement regarding the state of good repair formula program, the bill managers chose to reduce the growth of core formula programs and the growth in the Bus and Bus Facilities formula and Competitive Grant programs. 

While amendments to the bill are still being filed, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has used a procedural move to block any amendments from being considered on the floor, other than an amendment which would repeal the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) and an amendment attaching a reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank to the bill. The Senate is expected to work on the bill through the weekend and into next week. 
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