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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

APTA disappointed in Senate's version of tax bill

Richard White
Photo – APTA


The U.S. Senate's version of the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act" would eliminate or alter tax code provisions in ways that would discourage investment in the nation's public transportation system, according to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

Like the House's version, the Senate's tax legislation fails to address the challenges of the Highway Trust Fund's potential insolvency, APTA Acting President and Chief Executive Officer Richard White said in a prepared statement.

Additionally, the legislation appears to eliminate employers' ability to deduct costs related to the transit commuter tax benefit and fails to extend the alternative fuels and related infrastructure tax credits that expired Dec. 31, 2016, White noted.

And while APTA is encouraged that the Senate bill appears to maintain the use of Private Activity Bonds as a financing mechanism for public transportation infrastructure, the association "is disappointed that this legislation would eliminate the ability to advance refund municipal bonds," he said.

"The ability to take advantage of lower interest rates for a one-time refinance is a significant factor in the attractiveness and utility of municipal bonds, and its repeal would only disincentivize their use," said White.

That provision is particularly surprising since Congress and the Trump administration have expressed interest in attracting private investment in public infrastructure projects, he added.

"We urge Congress to use this once-in-a-generation opportunity to reform the tax code to encourage greater investment in our nation's infrastructure, not discourage it," White concluded.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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