DOT Secretary Foxx hits the road to promote transportation bill

By David Tanner, Land Line senior editor | 2/13/2015

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx will embark on a five-state bus tour next week to promote a long-term surface transportation bill. His tour begins Tuesday, Feb. 17, in Tallahassee, Fla., and will visit Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.

Foxx will be promoting President Barack Obama’s proposed six-year, $478 billion transportation bill titled the GROW America Act.

A multiyear bill, the DOT says, will provide certainty to states to plan for the long-term instead of relying on temporary extensions that amount to patchwork.

The White House favors tax reforms with proceeds going to pay for transportation. One such tax reform would lower the tax rate that American companies pay to bring money back to the U.S. economy from overseas. The current tax rate on “repatriation” of overseas funds is 35 percent. Some lawmakers want to lower the tax rate to 6 percent and create an incentive for companies to bring their profits back to the U.S. and invest in infrastructure.

For others in Congress, the tax-reform concept is not the only option. Discussions about increasing fuel taxes are accepted by some but shrugged off by others.

At any rate, the clock is ticking.

Congress has until May 31 to at least temporarily extend current policies and funding to keep the Highway Trust Fund operating in the black.

Foxx said he believes Congress has enough of a window between now and then to get a longer-term bill in place.

Short-term extensions and patches have been a familiar scenario since 2009, with the exception of the two-year, $109 billion highway bill known as MAP-21, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century, which was signed into law in 2012.

But MAP-21 technically expired on Sept. 30, 2014, and Congress extended it only through the end of May.

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