Obama Administration Drafts Transportation Bill; May 31 Deadline Looms
"The Obama administration sent Congress a $478 billion bill Monday that would provide the federal share of transportation funding for the next six years, the first legislation out of the gate in a year that is likely to produce a competition among three bills," reports Ashley Halsey.
As the final statement of that paragraph implies, Halsey's coverage focuses on the prospect of the federal government getting its act together to pass a long-term transportation funding solution under the may 31 deadline. That prognosis is not good.
Halsey also explains that the Obama Administration's bill, as released on Monday is the least likely of the three versions to pass both houses, but to start the discussion, the bill proposes the following funding mechanism for the critical issue of the Highway Trust Fund: "The administration bill rolled out Monday would bolster the gas-tax reliant Highway Trust Fund by imposing a 14 percent tax on an estimated $2 billion that U.S. corporations have stashed offshore to avoid higher corporate tax rates." While either house is not expected to raise funding beyond the current $50 billion a year. The Obama Administration's proposal raises yearly spending by $25 billion.
Keith Lang also covers the Obama Administration's proposal, focusing especially on language in the bill that would "lift the ban on states placing tolls on existing highway lanes." Lang also provides insight into the arguments made in support and opposition of allowing toll lanes on federal highways.
In a separate article, Laing notes the outpouring of support for the Obama Administration's version of the bill from industry and advocacy sources like AAA.