WASHINGTON—The Senate has passed by voice vote a two-month extension of current federal transportation funding, establishing a new deadline of July 31 to find a more permanent fix for the nation's highway funding.
The Senate approved the measure May 23, two days after the House of Representatives passed the bill on a 387-35 vote. President Obama promised to sign the extension provided that Congress continues to work on a longer-term transportation measure.
This marks the 33rd straight short-term extension for highway and transit funding, according to Roy Littlefield, executive vice president of the Tire Industry Association.
“TIA acknowledged that the two-month extension was not the preferred path forward for steady and long-term funding,” Littlefield said. “But we settled for the short-term extension, as keeping the Highway Trust Fund solvent until Congress can agree on a long-term funding solution is essential.”
The short-term extension contained no provisions regarding tire registration or tax increases, Littlefield said.
TIA opposes a provision in President Obama's six-year, $478 billion transportation bill that would lead the way toward re-establishing mandatory tire registration. That provision would not only be burdensome to tire dealers, TIA said, but would leave dealers liable to fines of up to $700,000 per location if they violated the mandatory registration law.
The two-month extension also contained no tax increases, Littlefield said. TIA opposes many of the tax increases that have been proposed to fund the Highway Trust Fund. These include reinstating the federal excise taxes on passenger tires and tread rubber, as well as increasing the FETs on truck tires, trucks, truck parts and motor fuel.
“TIA was pleased that a provision on tire registration was not added to the bill,” Littlefield said. “But be reminded that this is Round One in a fight that might go 12 rounds.”