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2-14-2014 Federal Transportation Briefing
Highway Trust Fund
A February Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report estimates that, while current revenue going into the Highway Trust Fund will likely cover reimbursements to states for existing obligations as they are paid out over time, cash flow issues could cause some delay in these payments to states, possibly beginning in August or September 2014. To prevent this slow-down, Congress would need to act before the annual August recess.
New HTF obligations after FY 2014 are another matter, however. CBO estimates $100 billion in new revenue or general fund transfers would be required over the next six years to maintain current Highway Trust Fund obligation levels. Absent any added funding, states will have to curtail any new obligations beginning in FY 2015.
Surface Transportation Reauthorization
With MAP-21 due to expire on Sept. 30, 2014, Congress is holding an increasing number of hearings on surface transportation reauthorization issues. So far, however, there is no consensus in Congress on addressing the most significant of those issues – namely, the highway trust fund shortfall described above. Very few members of Congress have expressed support for raising the federal gas tax, or for any of the alternatives, including the option of trimming the program to match the revenue.
By contrast, at a Feb. 12 meeting of the Environment and Public Works Committee, representatives of diverse stakeholder groups such as the US Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO advocated directly for an increase in the gas tax to maintain current investment levels. And the American Trucking Association and AAA have both endorsed HR 3636, a bill to double the tax, which was introduced last month by Representative Blumenauer of Oregon. No other members of the House have signed on as co-sponsors.
Funding/authorization expiration dates:
Jan. 18, 2014 – 3-day Continuing Resolution (H J Res 106) (However, HR 3547, FY 2014 omnibus appropriations bill through Sept. 30, 2014, is expected to be signed by the President before expiration of the CR)
Sept. 30, 2013 - water resource and development programs (WRDA of 2007)
Sept. 30, 2013 - passenger rail and freight safety programs (PRIIA of 2008)
Sept. 30, 2014 - surface transportation programs (MAP-21)
Sept. 30, 2015 - aviation programs (Air Transportation Modernization & Safety Improvement Act, 2012)
Read Entrie Article: 2-21-2014 Federal Briefing