On Monday, House Republicans disclosed an $8.1 billion transport bill designed to fund highway and mass transit operations through December 18, 2015. The money necessary for the highway funding will come from a fee extension in airport security and some changes in other taxes.
The members of the congress need to make up their minds on the transporting bill until July 31, otherwise the operations would be severely delayed. The bill which provides additional funding to transport projects nationwide for the next five months, was introduced by Bill Shuster, head of the Transportation Committee, and Paul Ryan, head of the Ways and Means Committee.
Both GOP members and Democrats aimed at a six-year transportation bill but they couldn’t agree on the sources needed to cover the costs. The short-term solution is designed to allow lawmakers to draft the more extensive bill, whose funding is expected to be obtained from taxes on $2 trillion worth of corporate profits held overseas.
Yet, lawmakers announced that they would first need to negotiate the international corporate tax rules, which would require additional time.
“This country needs a long-term plan to fix our roads, bridges, and other infrastructure, and this bill gives us our best shot at completing one this year,”
the two sponsors of the short-term transport bill said in a public statement.
The Highway Trust Fund currently is nearly out of funds because fuel tax rates haven’t changed in more than two decades, while road construction costs skyrocketed. Plus, vehicles are now more fuel-efficient leading to less tax revenues for the fund. Republicans, however, refused to hike fuel taxes.
The new transportation bill would gather the money through a two-year extension of the Transportation Security Administration fees. Those fees are expected to generate $3.2 billion over a decade. A couple of years ago, airline tickets fees more than doubled to $11.20 for a round-trip ticket.
The rest of the money would come from slight tax code changes. Lawmakers want that heirs to report the real value of an estate on the same day the owner died to prevent unfair practices of overstating the value to shrink tax liability when selling. Lenders are also expected to report accurately the origination date of the mortgages under the revamped rules.
On the other hand, the two initiators of the bill didn’t have in plan to extend U.S. Export-Import Bank’s charter whose expiration date was set on June 30. Ryan believes that the federal agency promoted “crony capitalism”, so it should be shut down.
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