Transportation funding lapses after Pelosi pulls infrastructure vote

Highway funding lapsed Friday after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) pulled a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which would have reauthorized key transportation programs. 

As a result, thousands of Department of Transportation employees will be furloughed and the Federal Highway Administration, which provides funding for road projects across the country, will shut down. 

State and local transportation officials have said that little will change if the federal funding lapses for a day or two, but a prolonged shutdown would lead to widespread delays of road and transit projects. 

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) said Wednesday that lawmakers would pass a short-term extension of transportation funding if the infrastructure vote failed. A DeFazio spokesperson on Friday morning declined to say whether lawmakers would make the move.

Nearly 2,600 Federal Highway Administration workers will be furloughed, in addition to hundreds of employees in other Department of Transportation divisions, according to a contingency plan released by the agency this week.

Business groups stressed that lawmakers needed to pass the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package before the Sept. 30 deadline so construction projects aren’t compromised by the lapse in federal funding.

“To those on the Hill who are suggesting that there is no cost in delaying the bipartisan infrastructure bill, that’s wrong,” Neil Bradley, executive vice president and chief policy officer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, told reporters during a press call Thursday.

Congressional Progressive Caucus Chairwoman Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), who pledged to vote against the bipartisan infrastructure bill Thursday, has pushed back on that talking point, calling the Sept. 30 deadline a “fake cliff” and arguing that Congress can easily temporarily extend transportation funding.

Tags DOT funding Highway Infrastructure Nancy Pelosi Peter DeFazio Pramila Jayapal Transportation

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