As the end of the federal government’s fiscal year approached, the House of Representatives approved an appropriations “minibus” funding bill on Sept. 26, which includes the Department of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bills for fiscal year 2019, as well as a short term continuing resolution to temporarily fund remaining government programs – including the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development or “THUD” bill approved by the committee back in May 23 – until December 7.
“This package also includes a short term continuing resolution to keep the federal government open and operational until all 12 appropriations bills can be signed into law,” noted House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., in a statement. “This will avoid the threat of any government shutdown, and allow for time for work on the remaining funding bills to be completed.”
A continuing resolution or CR is a stop-gap bill that maintains previous year spending levels until a set date, allowing Congress additional time to finalize spending.
Yet, according to AASHTO policy analysis, it also means that if the CR goes into effect, state departments of transportation will only receive about two months’ worth of fiscal year 2019 highway funding provided by the five-year Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act.
Besides releasing funds in short bursts that can impede project planning and programming, the CR also prevents states from accessing an additional 2.4 percent in federal-aid highway funding authorized by the 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation or FAST Act for the upcoming federal fiscal year.