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Senate approves highway trust fund fix

Senate approves highway trust fund fix

   The U.S. Senate on Thursday joined the House in approving a $7 billion transfer from the general treasury fund to the Highway Trust Fund, which faces insolvency within a month without the aid.

   President Obama is expected to sign the measure to shore up the trust fund through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. The account is not able to meet federal commitments for state highway aid due to a downturn in fuel tax receipts related to the economy.

   The highway trust fund, which provides states about $40 billion each year for roads, bridges, and other infrastructure projects administered by the states, often fluctuates and is expected to drop by the end of August. A shortfall would force the Department of Transportation to delay the rate at which it reimburses states for highway projects, potentially jeopardizing some work as states suffering from their own cash flow problems are reluctant to tie up their own money for a prolonged period.

   The legislation is a stopgap solution as Congress and the administration work to draft a long-term surface transportation policy and financing bill.

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