Funding for federal highway programs will be extended until the end of the 2011 fiscal year after President Obama signed a $15 billion jobs bill into law Thursday.
The Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act maintains current highway spending through the end of the next fiscal year.
Reauthorization of the Highway Trust Fund, which finances road and bridge construction, had been operating on a series of 30-day extensions. The current extension was set to expire on March 28.
Rep. James L. Oberstar (D-Minn.), chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, has been pushing for a five- to six-year reauthorization of the trust fund. The White House has sought only an 18-month extension.
Under the new law, businesses can immediately write off the full value of investments of up to $250,000 in equipment, rather than depreciating those investments over a period of years. In addition, the bill will allow employers to waive the payment of payroll taxes on workers they hire who had been unemployed for at least two months. The tax break will be in force through the rest of 2010.