Federal highway and mass transit funding will continue for another month following enactment of a bill that extends the programs through June 30. President Bush signed the latest extension into law on May 31. It is the seventh such stopgap since Sept. 30, 2003, when the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century expired.
The extensions have been necessary because Congress has been unable to pass a new multi-year transportation bill to replace TEA-21. So far this year, the House has approved a long-term bill that totals $284 billion through 2009; the Senate passed a measure that would provide $295 billion over the same span. The White House objects to anything higher than the House's figure.
Before beginning their Memorial Day recess, the House and Senate named their members of a joint conference committee that will attempt to reconcile the funding gap and other differences between their respective bills.
With the sixth extension set to expire May 31, the House approved the new stopgap on May 25 and the Senate followed the next day.