Senate committee proposal would increase heavy use taxes for trucks

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee is proposing a $9 billion plan for transportation that involves an increase in the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax for many long-haul truckers.

Current law requires truck owners to pay an annual tax of $100 plus $22 for every 1,000 pounds in excess of 55,000 pounds gross vehicle weight – capped at a maximum of $550 at 75,000 pounds.

The proposal by committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., would raise the cap to $1,100 at 97,000 pounds. He says his proposal would not increase truck size and weight but would increase the rate paid by the heaviest trucks in states that allow up to 97,000 pounds on non-interstate highways.

Wyden says the HVUT, or HUT, portion of his transportation plan would raise approximately $1.35 billion over 10 years.

Additional money would come from other tax reforms plus a provision that would revoke or deny passports for people with delinquent taxes or child support. 

The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to mark up the proposal on Thursday, June 26. Wyden’s proposal is called the Preserving America’s Transit and Highways – or PATH – Act.

Other Senate lawmakers recently floated a 12-cent increase in gasoline and diesel taxes as a way to boost transportation funding.

House Republicans have lined out a different plan altogether.

“Simply put, there is no way tax hikes to pay for more spending will fly in the House,” said Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich. “I am looking at policies that have a history of bicameral, bipartisan support, and I intend to have the Ways and Means Committee ready to act early in July.”

Camp announced a plan earlier this year that would simplify and shrink the IRS Tax Code.

OOIDA continues to monitor the proposed methods to pay for transportation both in the short-term and in a longer-term highway bill.

“OOIDA recognizes the difficulties facing the Highway Trust Fund over the coming weeks and months, and we are encouraged that there is increasing focus in both the Senate and the House towards addressing these short-term needs,” OOIDA Director of Government Affairs Ryan Bowley said.

“While we are still evaluating the specifics of the numerous proposals that have been made in recent days and weeks, the importance of funding our infrastructure is something truckers understand full well.”

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