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Financing Federal-Aid Highways

Appendix B: Chronology—Passage of the TEA-21


3/12 – President Clinton unveils NE tTEA, the National Economic Crossroads Transportation Efficiency Act of 1997, a 6-year surface transportation bill providing $29 billion/year for highways, transit, safety, and railroads.

5/2 – Congress and the Clinton Administration agree to a 5-year budget resolution. Permissible annual average budget authority for surface transportation is $29.5 billion.

5/21 – The House narrowly defeats House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee Chairman Shuster’s (R-PA) amendment to raise transportation outlays under the budget by $12 billion annually. The amendment, voted down 216-214, provided a 0.39% across-the-board cut in other discretionary spending to gain the extra funds for transportation.

5/22 – The Senate votes 51-49 to table a budget amendment offered by Senators Warner (R-VA) and Baucus (D-MT) to provide funding increases similar to the Shuster amendment. This amendment did not offer offsets, however.

6/5 – House and Senate pass the 1998 balanced budget resolution (H. Con. Res. 84).

8/5 – President Clinton signs H.R. 2014, the Taxpayer Relief Act (P.L. 105-34), and H.R. 2015, the Balanced Budget Act (P.L. 105-33), the two budget reconciliation bills implementing the budget resolution. H.R. 2014 redirects the 4.3 cent Federal motor fuel tax, which had gone into the General Fund, to the Highway Trust Fund effective 10/1/97, but makes no provision to actually spend the extra income.

9/4 – Chairman Shuster, and Representatives Oberstar (D-MN), Petri (R-WI), and Rahall (D-WV) introduce the House T&I Committee bill—H.R. 2400, the Building Efficient Surface Transportation and Equity Act, known as BESTEA. The 3-year highway, highway safety and transit bill provides budget authority of $34.4 billion/year and is not within the budget agreement. The Subcommittee on Surface Transportation reports the bill out on 9/10.

9/12 – Senators Warner and Chafee (R-RI) introduce S. 1173, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee bill. The 6-year highway and highway safety bill, known as ISTEA II, provides $24.6 billion/year and is within budget targets. The Committee reports the bill out on 10/1.

9/24 – The House T&I Committee marks up H.R. 2400, extends it to 6 years, but does not report it out of committee. House leadership will not consider the bill since it is not consistent with the budget agreement. The T&I Committee also marks up and reports out H.R. 2516, a 6-month, short-term extension of the ISTEA.

10/1 – The House passes H.R. 2516, the short term extension of ISTEA.

10/8 – The Senate begins consideration of S. 1173. Campaign finance reform issues stymie debate, and on 10/28 Senate Majority Leader Lott (R-MS) withdraws the bill from further consideration. While S. 1173 is on the floor, Senators Byrd (D-WV) and Gramm (R-Tuc) introduce an amendment to allow a total of $30.5 billion in additional authorizations for the 1999-2003 period based on "spending savings" in the budget.

11/7 – Senate passes S. 1454, a short-term extension bill for highways, safety and transit.

11/10 – After agreeing to amendments offered by Chairman Shuster to the short term bill, the Senate passes S. 1519, the "Surface Transportation Extension Act of 1997." The House passes S. 1519 on 11/12.

12/1 – President signs the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 1997 into law (P.L. 105-130).


2/2 – Senator Byrd calls for the Senate to take up debate on transportation reauthorization as it had pledged to do upon reconvening on 1/9; speaks every day on the subject.

2/12 – House Speaker Gingrich (R-GA) appoints task force to find ways to provide additional highway funding. Chairman Shuster had pressed to use $18 billion of projected budget "surplus" to increase highway and transit funding level to $30 billion annually, and will report H.R. 2400 out of Committee only after debate on FY 1999 Budget Resolution determines available funding.

2/25 – Senate Majority Leader Lott meets with Senators Byrd, Warner, Baucus, Gramm, Chafee, Domenici (R-NM), D’Amato (R-NY), and Daschle (D-SD) to discuss increasing funding by $18 billion. Debate on S. 1173 begins 2/26.

2/27 – Senators Byrd and Gramm propose an amendment which would provide $30 billion in contract authority on the condition that budget surpluses are realized; had proposed on 2/5 that highways and transit be able to use revenue from 4.3 cents of Federal motor fuel tax redirected to the HTF by the Taxpayer Relief Act (see 8/5/97). The Senate agrees to add $25.8 billion over 5 years to S. 1173; budget offsets are not identified.

3/12 – The Senate votes 96-4 to approve S. 1173 at $36.2 billion average annual funding level.

3/24 – House T&I Committee unanimously reports out H.R. 2400, providing $36.6 billion annually. No offsets are identified but are to be developed in conference committee.

4/1 – House votes 337-80 to approve H.R. 2400, which exceeds budgetary caps by $26 billion.

4/22 – Conference Committee convenes. House T&I Chairman Shuster is named Chairman of the Conference Committee.

4/30 – Senate Majority Leader Lott and House Speaker Gingrich meet with budget leaders to discuss finding $25-30 billion in offsets necessary to fund either S. 1173 or H.R. 2400.

5/1 – Obligations for Federal-aid highways cease, in accord with short-term bill provisions. Conferees refuse to consider another short-term bill.

5/18 – Chairmen Shuster and Chafee finalize a conference agreement which includes budgetary firewalls, guaranteed spending and $23.4 billion in offset savings.

5/22 – Both the House (297-86) and the Senate (88-5) approve the conference report on H.R. 2400, now titled the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, or TEA-21.

6/3 – House approves technical corrections to H.R. 2400; Senators, concerned with veterans benefit offset, stall passage of technical corrections in the Senate.

6/9 – President Clinton signs TEA-21 (P.L. 105-178) into law.

6/25 – House (402-8) approves TEA-21 technical corrections as part of an IRS restructuring bill, H.R. 2676.

7/9 – Senate (96-2) approves TEA-21 technical corrections as part of an IRS restructuring bill, H.R. 2676.

7/22 – President Clinton signs the IRS Restructuring Bill (P.L. 105-206) into law. Title Ile of the legislation contains the TEA-21 technical corrections, and is titled the TEA 21 Restoration Act.

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Electronic version of Publication No. FHWA-PL-99-015

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