T&I Committee Chairman: Infrastructure Bill “Closer to Summer”

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) said Feb. 15 that an infrastructure bill could be ready “closer to summer” now that the Trump Administration has unveiled its infrastructure proposal.

Rep. Shuster said that he would begin working on infrastructure legislation with the Committee’s Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) following a recent bipartisan meeting at the White House to discuss the President’s plan.

The Trump Administration on Feb. 12 officially rolled out its proposal for a $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan. That document did not address the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund and confirmed the Administration’s intent to shift the responsibility for financing infrastructure projects from the federal government to the states and the private sector.

Of importance to truckstops and travel plazas, the Administration’s plan calls for allowing states more flexibility to toll on interstates. It further calls for providing states with the ability to commercialize interstate rest areas.

[Read NATSO’s statement opposing key aspects of the Trump Administration’s infrastructure proposal here.]

The Administration’s official document made no mention of increasing the motor fuels taxes to increase infrastructure revenues. Just days after it was issued, however, lawmakers attending a bipartisan infrastructure meeting at the White House said the President is open to increasing the fuel tax. The White House has not confirmed these reports, but said “everything is on the table” when it comes to infrastructure funding.

NATSO and other members of the business community, including the American Trucking Associations and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have long supported increasing the motor fuels taxes to generate long-term, sustainable revenues for infrastructure.

Several proposals for raising infrastructure revenues have emerged in recent weeks, including a proposal for a 25-cent per gallon gas tax increase from the Chamber of Commerce. The American Trucking Associations also put forth a Build America Fund, which would be supported with a federal fuel usage fee built into the price of wholesale transportation fuels collected at the terminal rack, phased in at a nickel per year over four years. The fee would be indexed to inflation and improvements in fuel efficiency, with a 5 percent annual cap.

A fuel tax increase continues to face stiff opposition from lawmakers as well as from the Koch Companies.

The document, which largely mirrors the proposal leaked to the press in mid-January, fails to address the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund or long-term sustainable funding for infrastructure. It makes no mention of increasing the motor fuels taxes as a means of increasing infrastructure revenues, despite previous statements from the President that he was open to the idea.

NATSO will actively oppose these key aspects of the Trump Administration’s infrastructure proposal.

via Business Feeds

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