The Senate failed to extend a transportation bill that would preserve government's power to spend federal Highway Trust Fund money on transportation programs and to levy federal gas and diesel taxes that support the trust fund beyond the bill’s March 31 expiration date. If agreement isn’t reached before that expiration, states could have difficulty paying for construction projects already in progress and would likely be reluctant to commit to new projects, lawmakers and transportation interest groups said.
Leaders in both the House and Senate are struggling to pass bills that would lay out blueprints for federal transportation programs for the next several years. It is likely, however, that Congress will pass a temporary extension of transportation programs just before the deadline. The challenge will be to keep the trust fund solvent on a long-tem basis, lawmakers said.