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10-3-2014 Federal Transportation Briefing

Surface Transportation Reauthorization
Interest is increasing in using revenue from a tax overhaul as a one-time source of funding for surface transportation reauthorization. This week, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan expressed some support for that approach, citing a discussion draft released by Representative David Camp (Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee) last February. Under that proposal, $126.5 billion of such anticipated revenue would be added to the Highway Trust Fund over a period of eight years, according to committee summaries.

The administration advocates a similar approach. U.S. DOT’s GROW AMERICA proposal included provisions that would add to the trust fund approximately $150 billion in new revenue from “pro-business tax reform” over a period of 10 years. However, the president has emphasized that he is willing to look at other sources of funding.

Although the 113th Congress has adjourned until after the election, consensus on a pay-for would increase the chances of the 114th Congress producing a successor to MAP-21. In the Senate, three sections of that chamber’s surface transportation reauthorization package have been introduced, covering highway, highway safety, and rail safety. They could serve as a starting point for new legislation in the 114th session. On the House side, the Transportation and Infrastructure writes a comprehensive bill, but has proposed no surface reauthorization language.

FY 2015 Highway Apportionments and Obligation Authority
With the fiscal year beginning on Oct. 1, FHWA has released the first apportionment and obligation limitation notices for FY 2015. In this round, states are receiving only a part of the anticipated funding, since no full-year legislation has been enacted. Apportionments are at 243/365ths (to May 31, 2015) and obligation limitation is 72/365ths (to Dec. 11, 2014).

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Funding/authorization expiration dates:
Dec. 11, 2014 – transportation appropriations “Continuing Resolution” (H.J. Res. 124)
Sept. 30, 2019 - water resource and development programs (WRRDA of 2014)
Sept. 30, 2013 - passenger rail and freight safety programs (PRIIA of 2008)
May 31, 2015 - surface transportation programs (MAP-21 extension, in HR 5021)
Sept. 30, 2015 - aviation programs (Air Transportation Modernization & Safety Improvement Act, 2012)

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