Highway Funding Lapses After Infrastructure Vote Pulled

Funding for several important transportation programs and departments has lapsed after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., delayed a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, The Hill reports.

Almost 2,600 transportation workers with the Federal Highway Administration will be furloughed as a result, though state and local officials said the move likely won’t affect ongoing projects unless the funding gap lasts longer than a day or two. Pelosi has vowed that the House will vote on the bill on Friday, having delayed it on Thursday due to ongoing disagreements with the party’s progressive wing.

Although Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., who chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus described the September 30 funding deadline a “fake cliff,” multiple business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, had pressed legislators to pass the bill before the deadline.

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

In a plan released on Tuesday, the Transportation Department outlined what activities would cease due to a lapse in funding, this includes “all Federal-aid Highway programs,” as well as “States’, Tribes’, and territories’ active and planned transportation construction projects and related operations relying on Federal funds from the Highway Trust Fund… There will be no authority to obligate these Federal funds on active or planned transportation improvements such as transportation planning, environmental, right-of-way, preliminary engineering, or actual construction work, and reimbursements will be limited to obligations incurred before October 1, 2021.”

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