- Written by Mark Kuhar
September 13, 2011 – How many more band-aids are they going to put on this thing? On Sept. 9, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), reached an agreement to extend funding and operating authority for federal transportation programs. The draft legislation authorizes $24.78 billion in contract authority from the Highway Trust Fund through March 31, 2012, and funds the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Airport Improvement Program through Jan. 2012. The bill also extends the gas tax, airline ticket taxes, and other user fees. A vote on the measure is expected as early as today. The measure is a "clean" extension of the two programs that continues funding at current levels (except for a $3.13 billion rescission of highway funding required by the FY2011 appropriations law) and proposes no policy changes. With the current extension of SAFETEA-LU, the most recent highway law, expiring Sept. 30, urgent action is necessary to ensure the program’s continuation.