Transportation bill ready in April

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Department of Transportation photo Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

WASHINGTON (March 14, 2014) — The Obama administration’s surface transportation reauthorization bill will be sent to Congress “as soon as possible” during the month of April, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told a House subcommittee March 12.

President Barack Obama’s proposed four-year, $302 billion transportation bill — complete details of which are still unavailable — will add 600,000 jobs to the U.S. economy, Secretary Foxx said in testimony before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies.

Secretary Foxx and subcommittee members noted that without passage of a transportation reauthorization bill, the Highway Trust Fund will run out of money as early as August of this year. The U.S. should not allow this to happen again, Secretary Foxx said.

“Year after year, we’ve shored up the Highway Trust Fund with interim measures,” he said. “Since 2009, we have been operating under short-term measures.… Overall, our nation has maintained an infrastructure deficit.”

State transportation departments have postponed necessary repair and maintenance projects deliberately because of uncertainty over funding, according to Secretary Foxx.

When he first announced his fiscal year 2015 budget, President Obama said he would partly fund transportation through a one-time, $150 billion payment from pro-growth business tax reform.

The White House is still considering other transportation funding options, but it has not entirely ruled out such options as an increase in the gasoline tax and the introduction of weight-distance taxes and taxes per miles traveled, Secretary Foxx said, adding that the administration is willing to work with Congress on funding options.

One item the administration favors is an end to “Last In, First Out” (LIFO) accounting methods for tax and expensing purposes, a move the Tire Industry Association opposes.

 

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