President Obama and House Ways & Means Chairman Dave Camp Propose Transportation Funding

28-Feb-2014 President Obama and House Ways & Means Chairman Dave Camp Propose Transportation Funding
Source: Association of Commuter Transportation
 
(February 28, 2014) President Obama and House Ways & Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) each released a proposal for how to stabilize the U.S. Highway Trust Fund. Without Congressional action, the Highway Trust Fund will become insolvent sometime this summer. The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) expires at the end of the fiscal year and the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office suggests that Congress needs to find $100 billion to reauthorize MAP-21 for six years. Simply extending MAP-21 one year would cost $19 billion.
 
President Obama announced that included in his FY 2015 budget will be a provision that would use savings from corporate tax reform as a way to pay for a $301 billion transportation bill for the next four years. The President's proposal includes a number of policy provisions (more information will be in next week's ACT Connections newsletter) and if approved, would drastically increase transportation spending during the next four years.
 
Separately, Camp released a tax reform proposal that would also use funding from tax reform to shift $126.1 billion to the Highway Trust Fund, keeping it solvent through 2022. Funding isn't the only thing these two proposals have in common, however: They are both considered dead on arrival. However, this year or next, Congress may decide to peel out corporate tax reform from broader reform legislation as a way of beginning the tax reform process and paying for a transportation bill.
 
ACT Executive Director Henry Wallmeyer had this to say:
 
"The Association for Commuter Transportation is encouraged by the proposals outlined today. Finding funding to stabilize the Highway Trust Fund must be a priority. ACT is working with House and Senate leaders to improve policies from MAP-21 that will increase the value of transportation funding and ensure that each transportation dollar spent achieves the highest rate of return."
 
Several other items of interest for ACT members were also released or announced. Below is a quick summary. Look for more in the upcoming March 6 ACT Connections newsletter.
 
The Camp tax reform proposal includes a provision that would make the disparity between the parking and transit benefits permanent. The cap for the parking benefit would be set at $250 per month, while the cap for the transit benefit would be set at $130 per month. The cost of living adjustment (COLA), which has helped increase the base values, would be eliminated, along with the bicycle benefit; the transit benefit was one of only a few tax expenditures to not be eliminated.
 
President Obama announced a notice of availability for FY 2014 Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grants. Information can be found here and applications are due April 28, 2014.
 
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is looking to "Advance Transportation Planning through Innovation and Research" through its Broad Agency Announcement (BAA). The FHWA's research program funds innovations in such areas as planning capacity building, congestion management, safety planning, public involvement, environmental justice, visualization in planning, freight planning, planning and environmental linkages, and pedestrian and bicycle planning and design. To apply, visit FedBizOpps.gov for more information; the solicitation number is DTFH6114R00019. The BAA closes on April 23, 2014.

For more information contact ACT Government Relations Specialist Jason Pavluchuk at pavluchuk@actweb.org, or 202.285.6414.


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