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A bill to extend surface transportation funding from July 31 through Dec. 18 was introduced Monday by House Republicans, and would give Congress time to negotiate a long-term authorization of highway and transit programs, lawmakers said.The bill would extend funding at current levels under the Highway Trust Fund and its Mass Transit Account, according to a legislative update from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). The fund is set to expire July 31. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) released the following joint statement after the introduction of H.R. 3038: "This country needs a long-term plan to fix our roads, bridges, and other infrastructure, and this bill gives us our best shot at completing one this year. By providing resources through the end of the year, we can ensure construction continues while we work toward a package that could close the trust fund's shortfall for as many as six years. We urge all members who want some long-sought stability in our highway and transit programs to support this critical extension."Meanwhile, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation is scheduled today to mark up S. 1732, known as the Comprehensive Transportation and Consumer Protection Act of 2015. That bill incorporates the Railroad Reform, Enhancement and Efficiency Act, which the committee approved last month. The bill would authorize $6.6 billion in Amtrak funding for fiscal-year 2016 to 2019 and $2.28 billion for grants to rail agencies. The measure also would modify the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) program to prioritize applications that support positive train control implementation, according to APTA's summary.
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