Hearings set to discuss long-term highway funding

By David Tanner, Land Line senior editor | Friday, June 12, 2015

Two committees that have sway over how transportation and infrastructure get funded will hold hearings next week. The House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee will meet on back-to-back days as Congress inches closer to proposing a multiyear bill for surface transportation programs.

House Ways and Means, chaired by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., meets on Wednesday, June 17, to discuss tax reforms and other ways to bring more money into the Highway Trust Fund.

Ryan has said he would like to incentivize U.S. companies to bring back offshore profits at a reduced tax rate and apply those funds to infrastructure. The current tax on repatriated U.S. funds is 35 percent. Lawmakers have discussed a one-time repatriation rate of between 6 and 14 percent as an incentive to get U.S. corporations to bring money home. 

On the Senate side, the Finance Committee is in charge of finding new money for transportation. That committee is chaired by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who will conduct a hearing on Thursday, June 18.

Heading into mid-June, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, chaired by Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., was set to announce a date to mark up the blueprint for what a multiyear surface transportation authorization bill – also known as a “highway bill” – will look like.

A source close to the proceedings tells Land Line that the EPW has penciled in a date of June 24 to mark up its blueprint. Chairman Inhofe has previously stated that the committee intends to make it a six-year bill to provide years of funding and certainty to states that carry out their programs using federal money.

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