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7-25-2014 Federal Transportation Briefing

Highway Trust Fund
The legislative week ended with no final action on HR 5021, the bill aimed at keeping the Highway Trust Fund solvent through May 31, 2015. On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Reid announced an agreement on the terms of the debate: votes will be taken on four specific amendments (below), with 60-vote thresholds for the amendments and final passage.  The four amendments are:
• Wyden-Hatch – replace the revenue provisions with those in the “PATH Act,” a similar measure approved in committee earlier this month which differs mainly from HR 5021 in the specific offsets (less reliance on “pension smoothing” and more on tax compliance and other fees and penalties) and a reduction in the tax on liquefied natural gas and propane.
• Boxer-Carper – shorten the duration of the extension to Dec. 31, 2014.
• Lee – devolve to the states the taxing and spending authority for transportation programs.
• Toomey – exempt from NEPA certain emergency repairs to roads, highways, railways, bridges, or transit facilities.

Floor action is expected the week of July 28.  Adoption of any of the amendments would mean sending the bill back to the House, bringing final passage perilously close to August 1, when USDOT will implement “cash management” measures, and the month-long August recess begins.
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Funding/authorization expiration dates:
Sept. 30, 2014 – transportation appropriations (HR 3547, T-HUD)
Sept. 30, 2019 - water resource and development programs (WRRDA of 2014)
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 entire article:    7-25-2014 Federal Briefing