House Committee Meets Friday on Financing of Transportation Bill

Details for financing the House multi-year transportation bill (“American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Financing Act of 2012”) will be debated and voted on this Friday at 9 a.m. (ET) in the House Ways & Means Committee.

You can read the draft financing proposal here.

Key details:

  • Highway Trust Fund extended through October 1, 2016
  • Gas tax and other transportation-related taxes/fees extended through October 1, 2018
  • All proceeds from proposed expanded energy exploration leases to be deposited in the Highway Trust Fund
  • Mass Transit Account to be renamed Alternative Transportation Account
  • Mass Transit Account funding for 2012 to be transferred to the Highway Account
  • $40 billion from General Fund to be transferred to the Alternative Transportation account
  • The roughly 80/20 split of funding to highways/transit is maintained in the bill.

Currently, 2.86 cents per gallon of motor fuel taxes goes into the Mass Transit Account, which is a sub-account within the Highway Trust Fund.  Retroactive to October 1 2012 that revenue would be transferred to the Highway Account.  The Mass Transit Account would be replaced by the Alternative Transportation Account, and funded from the General Fund.  That $40 billion has to be matched by saving elsewhere in the federal budget, since it is a General Fund expenditure. This move presumably puts future transit funding at greater risk than the highway funding.

The Alternative Transportation Account would fund the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality, Ferry Boats & Terminals, and Federal Highways research programs (e.g., ITS, University Research) in addition to transit programs.