NEW YORK Emergency measures to replenish the federal Highway Trust Fund are likely to pass Congress in the next several days, saving state construction projects, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI).
"That bill should make it through Congress in the next few days. We would expect the President to sign it," AISI president and chief executive officer Thomas J. Gibson said in a media briefing July 16.
The House of Representatives passed legislation that maintains solvency for the Highway Trust Fund in a 367-55 vote July 15, providing $10.8 billion through May 2015. The measure must now be acted on by the Senate, which has already voted similar legislation through the Senate Finance committee.
The fund could have become insolvent in less than 25 days without action from Congress, Gibson said.
"This will at least prevent the catastrophe or very bad results that would occur if the federal government stops being able to pay states, to reimburse them," Gibson said on the media call.
Some estimates saw states losing almost one-third of their federal reimbursements for highway infrastructure projects, Gibson said.
Congressional inaction would have threatened thousands of projects and hundreds of thousands of jobs nationally, Rep. Bill Shuster (R., Pa.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said in a July 15 statement.
"Its not the long-term answer on highway funding. That is now left until next year and the new Congress," Gibson said.
Others have warned in the past that decaying roads could cause problems for the steel industry (amm.com, May 14).