WASHINGTON, July 15 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. House of Representative approved a measure of 10.8 billion U.S. dollars Tuesday to finance the Highway Trust Fund till May 2015 to avoid cutbacks in transportation projects.
The measure was passed on a 367-55 vote. It will be mainly paid for from pension smoothing program, higher customs fees for passengers and vehicles, as well as a fund used to cover cleanup costs from leaking underground storage tanks.
The fund, started in 1956 to finance the U.S. Highway System based on fuel tax revenues, has run short of money in recent years because of higher construction costs and improved vehicle fuel economy.
The Department of Transportation said without new money for the Highway Trust Fund, it will reduce federal funding for projects by nearly a third starting on Aug. 1, the same day that Congress begins its summer recess.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the Senate would begin considering a similar plan with some alternate funding provisions in the coming days.