Industry Group Predicts Congress Will Pass Another Short-Term Highway Patch in Coming Months

An industry group that advocates for greater private investment in infrastructure said recently that it expects Congress to “punt” on highway and transit reauthorization again in the fall rather than passing a long-term bill. The Bipartisan Policy Center’s Executive Council on Infrastructure, whose members include former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), recommended that Congress pass a six-year reauthorization bill rather than the shorter extensions that Congress has passed in recent years.

The group’s goal is to develop clearer and easier mechanisms for the private sector to invest in infrastructure projects. It is expected to issue recommendations in 2016 on how to make it cheaper and simpler for private investors to get involved in projects.

Before Congress left Washington, D.C. for its annual August Recess, it passed a three-month bill scheduled to expire at the end of October.  The legislation provides enough funding to carry the highway trust fund to December, but spending authority for programs would end on October 29. The Senate also passed a longer, six-year reauthorization bill, but substantial differences with the House over funding mechanisms leave it uncertain as to whether such a long-term bill could be enacted before the end of 2015.

Former Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who is vice chairman and managing director at investment bank Moelis & Company, said that even if Congress can find a long-term solution, the private sector will still need to fill funding gaps. “The real effort is to better the environment for private sector investment,” Cantor said.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) has supported funding a long-term highway bill through international tax reform.  Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer (NY) has also backed this idea.

NATSO expects the House to begin developing more concrete proposals for a long-term highway plan. House and Senate leaders would then need to resolve differences between their respective measures, a time-consuming process that is unlikely to conclude before 2016. 

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David Fialkov

David Fialkov is the Vice President of Government Relations, as well as the Legislative and Regulatory Counsel, at NATSO. In this capacity, Mr. Fialkov directs NATSO's legislative, regulatory, and legal strategy on a range of issues, including transportation, energy and fuels, labor, data security, and taxes. Mr. Fialkov also oversees NATSO's political engagement program, including individualized legal and political counsel to member companies. Prior to joining NATSO, Mr. Fialkov was the senior associate in the Government Affairs and Public Policy practice at the law firm of Steptoe and Johnson in Washington, D.C. At Steptoe, Mr. Fialkov advised clients on legislative, regulatory, and political issues, as well as legal concerns. His primary clients included trade associations representing the motor fuel wholesale and retail industries, including the National Association of Convenience Stores and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America. Mr. Fialkov's focus was not only on the motor fuels business, but also the litany of other issues that retailers confront, including labor matters, foodservice issues, healthcare and employment issues, tax matters and data security. Prior to joining Steptoe, Mr. Fialkov graduated with honors from George Washington University Law School. He received his B.S. Summa cum laude with highest honors from Clark University in Worcester, MA. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife Allison and daughter Lilah. More
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