Discussions on highway funding are ramping up on Capitol Hill, with both the House and Senate holding hearings to discuss financing options this week. Legislators are facing a July 31 deadline for the expiration of current federal infrastructure funding and are struggling with how to pay for a multi-year extension.
The Senate Finance Committee will meet on Thursday. The hearing, titled Dead End, No Turn Around, Danger Ahead: Challenges to the Future of Highway Funding, will feature several speakers, including Ray LaHood, former Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and senior policy advisor at DLA Piper along with Stephen Moore, a visiting fellow from The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.
The House Ways and Means Committee is holding a hearing on Wednesday to discuss the long-term financing of the Highway Trust Fund. Lawmakers are considering a variety of possible funding solutions.
Transportation advocates have asked for an increase in the federal fuel tax, which has not been increased since 1993. Others have considered using revenue from some tax reforms, which has been a top choice among many conservatives.
One proposal, which has had some bipartisan support, to use the repatriation of corporate earnings held overseas to fund the Highway Trust Fund has hit a roadblock. This past week, the conservative group Americans for Tax Reform called into question whether or not the idea would violate Grover Norquist’s pronouncement to oppose tax hikes—a pledge most Republicans have signed.
While there are a number of suggestions on the table, each is expected to be met with criticism, and Congress’s road to finding a solution will be bumpy. NATSO will continue to monitor funding discussions.
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