The last surface transportation authorization legislation, SAFETEA-LU, expired on October 1, 2009 but has since been extended seven times. The most recent extension, P.L. 112-5, expires on September 30, 2011. While during the 111th Congress the Administration, Senate, and House could not agree on the timing for enacting a multi-year authorization bill, in the 112th Congress all three sides agree a bill must be acted upon but they disagree as to the length of the bill and the overall funding levels.
The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure has proposed a 6-year bill funded at approximately $230 billion, a roughly 35 percent cut over current funding levels. While there is no legislative text, a summary of the House proposal can be found on the Transportation and Infrastucture Committee's website. Conversely, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) has proposed a 2-year bill funded at roughly $109 billion, which continues current funding levels. A summary of the Senate proposal is available on the EPW Committee website .
Congress must pass the eighth extension of SAFETEA-LU by September 30th, including an extension of the 18.4 cent federal gas tax. The Senate EPW Committee has indicated they are working on a four-month extension that will continue current program funding levels through the end of January 2012. While no extension proposal has been released in the House, it is expected that the next House SAFETEA-LU extension could significantly cut funding levels in order to match the House-passed Budget Resolution for FY2012, which calls for a 37 percent cut to federal highway, bridge and transit programs. A cut of that magnitude would not be sustainable for Washington State so we have created two documents to help inform the Washington congressional delegation on what a 37 percent cut would mean statewide.
The first document describes (pdf 74kb) the impact of a 37 percent cut to the state highway system, the local system, and to the transit and ferry systems. The second document (pdf 895kb) is a map that shows examples of state highway projects that may be impacted by a 37 percent cut.