House Dems expected to propose bill that could raise transportation funds

| Published on June 20, 2014

road

House Democrats are expected to propose a new bill to restrict the ability of U.S. multinational corporations that move their headquarters abroad to lower their tax burden at home, with funding raised by the bill earmarked for transportation infrastructure projects, the Washington Post reports.

The bill, supported by Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), would raise approximately $20 billion, according to the Washington Post. However, it is not clear how much of the revenue collected would be used for transportation.

News of the potential proposal comes as talks about transportation funding ramp up. The current highway bill, MAP-21, expires September 30. But even sooner, the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), which provides the majority of funding to state and local transportation projects, is expected to run out of cash. The DOT projects (and has for the past three months) that that HTF will become insolvent at the end of August — less than three months from now.

If the HTF runs out of money, transportation projects across the nation would come to a halt and 700,000 workers could lose their jobs.

The bill would aim to avert that crisis by linking the HTF to the proposal, with a goal of replenishing its funds.

Other ideas have also sprung in recent months. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) and the Obama administration offered vague solutions in each of their proposed highway bills.

Meanwhile, House Republicans have suggested using savings from proposed U.S. Postal Service cuts to fund highway projects, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) has introduced a plan that would nix the federal gas tax while taxing oil barrels and indexing the diesel tax to inflation, and Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) want to see a 12-cent-per-gallon gas tax hike.

Additionally, Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) has pointed to his proposed bill as a solution for transportation investment and job creation.

The House Democrats’ proposal is likely to face opposition from Republicans and Senate Democrats, the Washington Post reports. But Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), who is planning to push the bill, told the Washington Post that he is hopeful the bill will move forward.

“We think this could have legs,” Van Hollen said in the report. “This will have support from the overwhelming majority of the public. I wouldn’t want to explain to constituents why I’m allowing a green light for American companies to turn their backs on American taxpayers, instead of extending transportation funding for another 18 months.”

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