DOT’s Foxx Says Lame Duck Session is Good Time for Congress to Fix Trust Fund

AASHTO Journal, 17 October 2014

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx speaks at the AASHTO Washington Briefing in February. Photo by Mario Olivero/AASHTO

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told WAMU-American University Radio in Washington that the lame duck session of Congress following next month’s mid-term elections would offer an opportunity to fix the Highway Trust Fund for years to come.

“I don’t think we are going to find ourselves in a better moment to do something than we will over the next few months,” he said in an interview.

Foxx has been touring infrastructure project sites and meeting with media around the country to promote the administration’s four-year highway, transit and rail proposal it calls the Grow America Act. At its core, the plan would tap an expected temporary tax windfall from overhauling corporate tax rates to pay for increased road, transit and rail spending.

Some transportation interests think using temporary corporate tax receipts would take Congress’ attention away from finding a long-term, sustainable revenue stream for the Highway Trust Fund, and would prefer lawmakers enact legislation that would dedicate permanent revenues to transportation investment.

Foxx noted that both House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who could take the chair at the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee next year, have signaled an interest in producing a transportation bill.

“There continues to be a bipartisan interest in figuring a way forward,” Foxx told WAMU.” We are going to have to get through these elections and get Congress back in Washington to see how far we can take it.”

The story notes, though, that most observers do not expect Congress to tackle a Highway Trust Fund fix in the lame duck session.

Foxx is among various Democrats pushing for Congress to do just that, while most Republicans who talk about finding a transportation funding solution say they would try to do it in 2015 under the new Congress that takes office in January.

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