By Mark Holan, editorial director, ARTBA
The Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan group of U.S. House members, May 28 released a 16-page infrastructure blueprint that calls for “modernizing existing user fees, incentivizing private innovation and investment through public-private partnerships, making smarter investments with limited federal dollars, and increasing accountability to taxpayers.”
The report shows there is still a desire among Capitol Hill lawmakers to move forward an infrastructure proposal despite the May 22 collapse of talks between President Donald Trump and congressional Democratic leaders.
For surface transportation needs, the proposal calls for “sustainable and long-term funding for the Highway Trust Fund by modernizing the current federal gasoline user fee and provide proper indexing tools so that the American people do not face the same funding shortfalls over the next 25 years.” It also suggests considering:
- user fees based on the value of freight assessed through waybill taxes and broadening the current air cargo tax to trucking services;
- modest annual registration fees on fully electric and hybrid electric vehicles; and
- incentivizing pilot projects to transition to a mileage-based user fee.
The “Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure” report is a reboot of a similar proposal the Problem Solvers released in January 2018. Both reports also address other infrastructure needs, such as energy, water and wastewater, and broadband and other communications networks.