Congress Extends Pork Another Year


In a move that will surprise no one at all, Congress has extended federal funding for highways and public transit until September 30, 2021. Such federal funding was set to end on September 30, 2020, and rather than revise the law to take into account the latest trends and events, Congress simply extended the existing law for another year.

It’s not like there was any new information, such as a pandemic, widespread forest fires, or the acceleration of urban decentralization, that might lead Congress to change its funding priorities anyway. Or, to be more accurate, it’s not like any new information would actually persuade Congress to change its funding priorities, as those priorities are driven by ideology more than actual facts.

The current law, known as the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation or FAST Act, was passed in 2015 and included five years of funding. It didn’t make sense to make the law last five years because Congress is so dysfunctional that it can’t pass any major legislation in even-numbered years, so it should have made it a six-year law anyway.

This piece first appeared on the Antiplanner.

Randal O'Toole ( is a Cato Institute Senior Fellow working on urban growth, public land, and transportation issues. He is the author of numerous Cato papers and has also written for numerous other national journals and newspapers.