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The U.S. House of Representatives yesterday passed a two-month extension to MAP-21, the federal government's surface transportation funding legislation that was set to expire May 31.The extension would maintain the program's current funding levels for public transportation, roads, bridges and rails. Congressional leaders indicated that the extension is intended to provide time for Congress to secure funding for a long-term transportation funding bill, American Public Transportation Association (APTA) officials said in a press release.APTA officials expressed disappointment that the extension would not increase funding for public transportation infrastructure, which has an $88 billion backlog in needed repairs."APTA strongly believes that Congress should expedite its efforts and find a solution that provides for long-term investment in our public transportation, road and rail network. It is crucial that Congress act with urgency to address the nation's crumbling infrastructure," said APTA President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Melaniphy in a press release.Melaniphy noted that public transportation ridership is at its highest level in 58 years, with more than 10.8 billion trips logged last year on U.S. transit services.Although highway and transit program funding would have expired at month's end, the Highway Trust Fund had enough funds to pay for its obligations through July 31, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) said in a prepared statement issued after the extension measure was introduced last week.Shuster and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said in a joint statement that, although they preferred an extension through Dec. 31, the two-month measure would provide time to reach a bipartisan agreement to address the trust fund's shortfall.
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