Senate leaders agreed Wednesday to take up the House version of a stopgap bill to replenish the Highway Trust Fund before the chamber adjourns for the summer.
The bill, which would provide $10.9 billion to fund transportation projects through spring 2015, will move to the floor along with four amendments. Both the bill and amendments would require 60 votes to pass.
One bipartisan amendment would only extend the funding to through December of this year, forcing the lame duck session of congress to take up the measure.
An amendment from Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) would allow bridge and road reconstruction projects to move forward without an environmental review. The provision would allow rapid rebuilding of infrastructure following natural disasters.
“To get help quickly to the victims, states and municipalities should be able to make essential infrastructure-based repairs without having to navigate excessive red tape,” Toomey said. “After all, if you had a permit for the original bridge or road and you are simply rebuilding it in the same place, why should another permit be needed?”
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) will offer an amendment that would slash the gas tax from 18.4 cents per gallon to 3.7 cents per gallon and would shift all transportation responsibilities to the states. While the proposal has been embraced by conservative activists, it is unlikely to receive 60 votes.
The vote on the Highway Trust Fund patch has not been scheduled, but must take place before congress adjourns for the August recess.