Year-end US surface transportation extension proposed

The resolution is described as the country's "best shot" at completing a long-term plan to fix its infrastructure this year.

After two senators alluded to the likelihood that the 34th consecutive short-term extension to keep transportation dollars flowing would surface soon in the legislature in a conversation attended by Infrastructure Investor last week, House Representatives Bill Shuster and Paul Ryan announced a year-end measure late Monday night. 

“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,” read a joint statement issued by Shuster and Ryan along with the announcement of the bill's filing. “By providing resources through the end of the year, we can ensure construction continues while we work toward a package that could close the trust fund's shortfall for as many as six years.” 

“We urge all members who want some long-sought stability in our highway and transit programs to support this extension.”

House Resolution 3038, or House Transportation Funding Act of 2015 Part Two, calls for the extension of the Highway Transportation Funding Act of 2014, and in turn, of Highway Trust Fund (HTF) expenditure authority – which is currently set to expire on July 31 – through December 18.   

Continued spending through year's end would be funded via appropriations from the treasury, with $6. 068 billion allotted to the HTF Highway Account and $2 billion to the Mass Transit Account. MAP-21 would receive a roughly $8.7 billion boost for expenditures that fall between October 1 and December 18. 

The resolution also calls for tax hikes on liquefied petroleum gas to “18.3 cents per energy equivalent of a gallon of gasoline”, and on liquefied natural gas to “24.3 cents per energy equivalent of a gallon of diesel”. 

Packaged inside the resolution is a proposal to modify mortgage reporting requirements and basis reporting requirements in estate transactions between persons acquiring property and descendants, a call to transfer excess pension assets to retiree health accounts, a proposal to alter tax return filing deadlines and extensions for partnerships as well as S and C corporations, and an amendment to the “Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act”.