Senate passes 2 highway funding bills; one short, one long

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The Senate Thursday (July 30) overwhelmingly passed a six-year highway bill that would remove carrier percentile scores in the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program from public view, among other regulatory reforms.

The Senate also passed a bill that provides short-term highway funding patch. The president is expected to sign that bill today.

The longer-term DRIVE Act, cleared by a 65-34 vote, would also set up a pilot program for under-21 CDL haulers to operate interstate and allow carriers to use hair testing in lieu of urine tests in driver drug screenings. It also secures highway funding for six years with $275 billion in funding coming from a long list of mechanisms.

The short-term patch the Senate passed will prop up the Highway Trust Fund until the end of October. The House passed the same bill Wednesday (July 30), and then adjourned for its near-six-week recess, meaning if the Senate’s long-term bill is to move forward, it’ll have to wait until Congress reconvenes in September.

When lawmakers resume work in September, they’ll have about six weeks to either pass a long-term bill or clear another short-term stopgap.