WASHINGTON — House Transportation Committee chairman John Mica on Thursday introduced a bill that would extend the current temporary highway and transit bill by three months, in an effort to buy time for more debate on a multi-year reauthorization.
The bill by the Florida Republican would extend funding for the programs through June 30, since the current law expires at the end of this month.
Democrats in both chambers of Congress are pushing for the House to adopt a two-year, $109 billion bill that has already passed the Senate with wide bipartisan support. But House GOP leaders are still trying to garner support for a modified version of Mica’s five-year, $260 billion bill that failed to gain much support.
Justin Harclerode, a spokesman for Mica, said the extension will allow lawmakers to “ensure continuity of current surface transportation programs while the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and House Republicans continue to work toward a responsible transportation bill that provides long-term certainty, reduces the size of government, eliminates earmarks and is fully paid for.”
Both the House and Senate need to pass the three-month extension bill, unless lawmakers agree to pass the Senate measure, to avoid a shutdown of government-funded transportation projects and a lapse in collection of crucial gasoline tax revenue on March 31.