WASHINGTON – Federal Transit Administration bus-project and other transit funding – in danger owing to political squabbling — will remain in place at least through March 31, 2012, following House and Senate action to extend temporarily, for the eighth time since 2009, highway taxes that fund transit programs.
The House and Senate also agreed Sept. 15 to a new four-month extension of Federal Aviation Administration taxes that fund the Essential Air Services program vital to regional airlines that employ UTU-represented pilots and flight attendants. It was the 22nd temporary extension for this program since 2007.
The president said he will sign the temporary extensions into law, allowing more time for the House and Senate to continue attempts at reaching compromise on a permanent extension of transit and EAS programs that have been stalled for years.
The highway bill extension ensures that more than $4 billion from the Highway Trust Fund for Federal Transit Administration formula and bus programs will remain available for spending through March 31. Disagreement between the House and Senate on the number of years to authorize a new highway/transit spending bill is the reason for that stall.
A permanent FAA reauthorization, which includes the EAS program, is stalled over an inability to agree on future EAS subsidies, and an attempt by House Republicans to include in the bill a provision overturning a 2010 National Mediation Board rulemaking. That rulemaking changed the rules for representation elections from counting those not voting as “no” votes, to determining outcomes based only on those voting.