The highway funding crisis is about to end. (For now.)
Senate Democratic leaders have agreed to pass a nearly $11 billion House measure that would extend the life of the Highway Trust Fund through next spring, CNN has learned.
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Two top Senate Democratic leadership sources said the plan is for the Senate to vote on the issue early next week.
The chamber will first vote on alternate proposals from Sen. Barbara Boxer, D- California, and the Senate Finance Committee, led by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon. But both of those are expected to fail.
Then, the sources said, the Senate will vote on the stop-gap highway funding bill that passed the House on Tuesday by an overwhelming 367-55 margin.
Multiple Democratic and Republican sources said the House bill is expected to also get strong bipartisan support in the Senate.
Some, including a few prominent Democrats, have criticized the House bill because it relies on funding from something called “pension smoothing.” That allows companies to contribute less to their traditional employee pension funds, reducing their tax break and increasing tax revenues for the government.
The competing Senate highway bill also includes pension smoothing, but to a smaller degree.
The Highway Trust Fund is set to hit a critical low point around August 1.
Without more money from Congress, states across the country have said they would have to start shutting down and delaying hundreds of road and bridge construction projects.
The trust fund is stocked by gas tax receipts, but those have been falling over the years for a number of reasons, including higher gas prices and more fuel efficient cars.
And Congress previously has stepped in to supplement the trust fund balance with general tax revenues.