Biden signs highway extension bill into law

Tony Czuczka

Washington – President Joe Biden on Saturday approved a 30-day extension of federal surface transport programs that ends brief furloughs for 3,700 Department of Transportation employees.

The U.S. Senate passed the measure by unanimous consent earlier in the day. The maneuver follows this week’s delay in a bipartisan infrastructure bill that would have reauthorized the programs for five years.

President Joe Biden speaks with members of the press before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021, in Washington.

The deadline for extending the surface transportation programs was Sept. 30. The lapse triggered the furloughs, though employees will have their missing pay restored under the extension bill.

While the department said last week it has funding on hand to keep programs running in the short term, a contingency plan showed that much of its work, including federal-aid highway programs, would be curtailed without an authorization.