On November 10, 2015, the Senate agreed to go to Conference with the House on the highway bill and named its Conferees for the process. House Conferees were named immediately following House passage of the Surface Transportation Reauthorization & Reform Act of 2015 on November 5, 2015. While the House & Senate are out this week on recess, work is already being done at the staff level to negotiate a final bill.
When Members return next week, they must hold at least one formal meeting of the Conference Committee before a final bill can be approved by the group (they can hold more than one meeting, if necessary). Once Conferees have agreed on a bill, the package will be sent to both the House and Senate for a final approval. One of the major outstanding issues that will need to be resolved is whether to do a 6-year bill at slightly lower funding levels or a shorter-term bill (5 years) at slightly higher funding levels.
Current program authority expires on November 20, 2015, and, due to a number of factors, one more short-term extension of the program is likely necessary before final passage of the highway bill, sometime in December.
Below, please find updated versions of the House bill summary and the House vs. Senate Comparison document, as well as the Senate bill summary.