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  • OTRI.USA
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    36.060
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  • ITVI.USA
    14,293.460
    37.930
    0.3%
  • OTRI.USA
    22.590
    -0.070
    -0.3%
  • OTVI.USA
    14,281.460
    36.060
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  • TLT.USA
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  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
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  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
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    1.460
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  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
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  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
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American Shipper

HTF narrowly dodges funding crisis

The U.S. Senate also passed a long-term highway bill that will be debated by the House after the summer break.

   The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed a long-term reauthorization bill for highway and transit programs after first approving a three-month extension of funding for the Highway Trust Fund through Oct. 29.
   Funding was scheduled to expire at the end of Friday and the HTF was expected to go into the red without an $8 billion infusion from the government through the transfer of certain fees tied to other federal programs to supplement gas tax collections.
   The House passed a three-month extension Wednesday and promptly adjourned for its August recess. Senate leaders say they plan to try and get resolution for a joint long-term bill with the House when they return to session in September. It is the third time in 10 months that Congress has enacted stopgap legislation to keep the HTF solvent.
   State transportation departments are clamoring for a longer authorization period that would provide much more certainty in federal aid for road improvement and maintenance projects.
   The DRIVE Act (Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy) is a six-year Senate bill with three years of guaranteed funding through $47 billion in offsets that would support investment in highway, bridge and transit infrastructure.
   It also would create a national freight program, including a formula for dedicating a portion of state highway aid for freight and two merit-based grant programs. However, no new revenue stream is identified for the freight program, meaning the money would be siphoned off the total aid states receive from the Department of Transportation.
   “Freight mobility is essential to the wide spectrum of commerce in the United States. Manufacturing, agriculture and retail all depend on the efficient and reliable movement of goods to market. In passing the DRIVE Act, the Senate has made a commitment to supporting our nation’s economic engine through improved policy and unprecedented freight funding,” John Greuling, a board member of the Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors and president of the Will County Center for Economic Development in Illinois, said in a statement. “Senate passage of this bill marks a tremendous achievement, recognizing that America’s multimodal freight network is a priority and is uniquely positioned to move our economy forward.”