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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

AASHTO: Tax reform bills fail to address infrastructure funding 'crisis'


Congress is missing the opportunity to use tax reform legislation to address the nation's infrastructure investment "crisis," according to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).

AASHTO officials told congressional leaders that the proposed "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act" legislation not only misses the opportunity to address infrastructure funding, but would make it "nearly impossible" to later fund a major infrastructure package, the AASHTO Journal reported.

Neither the House nor Senate tax bills address the federal Highway Trust Fund's (HTF) "looming solvency crisis." Unless Congress shores up the trust fund before its current authorization law expires in 2020, federal highway spending would shrink by 40 percent in 2021, while new HTF mass-transit funding would evaporate completely for three years, AASHTO officials said.

"We are extremely disappointed that it appears, once again, that Congress will not address this funding crisis," AASHTO wrote in a Nov. 14 letter to Senate leaders.

Only major tax legislation offers a vehicle to come up with the money for a major infrastructure program that President Donald Trump has promised, AASHTO leaders wrote.

The Trump administration has said it plans to roll out an infrastructure plan after Congress passes tax reform, but AASHTO officials believe such a strategy won't work.

"Failure to find the revenue for an infrastructure initiative now, as part of tax reform, will make passage of such a package nearly impossible in the future," the association's letter stated.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/22/2017