Bicycle Friendly America Winter 2018 - 18

FEDERAL POLICY

WHAT DO THE INFRASTRUCTURE
FUNDING DEBATES MEAN FOR
BIKING?
P

resident Trump has continued to
talk about the need for infrastructure. And why not? Polls show that
over 80 percent of voters support an increase in investment1.
Debating what an infrastructure
package should look like has become
a favorite pastime for transportation
stakeholders. Should we invest in more
separate bike lanes? Make sure all maintenance creates complete streets? It is
fun to imagine, but the real question
isn't what it should look like, it is if it will
happen at all.
So now that tax reform is done, will
we see an infrastructure package? We've
seen several false starts on infrastructure.
The Department of Transportation released a five page white paper on what
would be in the bill earlier this year
and continues to speak about the need
for infrastructure. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
claims to have a draft bill ready, and the
House Transportation & Infrastructure
Committee is holding hearings on what
should be in the bill. With all this talk
about an infrastructure package, why
isn't anything moving forward?
The reason this package is late is the
same reason the last two major transportation bills were late: Congress cannot
agree on how to fund it.
Funding for roads, bridges, transit
and bikeways comes out of the Highway
Trust Fund (HTF) - basically a special
bank account set up just for transportation. The HTF was set up to give states

18 BICYCLE FRIENDLY AMERICA

some certainty that there would be funding for transportation for several years.
Congress can then write a five to six year
bill based on the balance of that account
The funding going into the HTF
comes mostly from gas and diesel taxes, but revenue hasn't met that demand
since 2008. In order to keep the HTF
solvent, Congress has moved over $140
billion from the general account to the
Highway Trust Fund over the years.
Moving funding from the general fund
is basically deficit spending. It is a hard
vote to take and that is what delays transportation investment. The current transportation bill, the FAST Act that passed
in 2015, moved $70 billion from the general funds to the Highway Trust Fund.
OUR BIGGEST OPPORTUNITY FOR SUSTAINABLE
FUNDING JUST PASSED US BY.
For years, transportation advocates
had been optimistic that a tax reform
package would offer an opportunity to

find a sustainable funding solution. The
thought was that Congress would vote
for a revenue raiser for infrastructure, in
the form of a gas tax increase or other
revenue raiser, as part of a larger tax reform package. Unfortunately, that didn't
happen. (The gas tax hasn't been raised
since 1993 and is not indexed to inflation. As construction prices increase,
current funding does not.)
When the Trump Administration announced a $200 billion investment in
infrastructure this was not assumed to
be a long-term sustainable fix, but a onetime infusion of investment. The original plan was for that funding to come
out of the tax reform bill as well. One
prevailing thought was that by lowering
that tax on profits American companies
held overseas, those countries would repatriate those profits (bring the funding
back to the U.S. at a lower tax rate). The
taxes on those repatriated funds would
be enough, even at a lower tax rate, to


http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/351984-poll-finds-overwhelming-support-for-tax-reform-and-infrastructure

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Bicycle Friendly America Winter 2018

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Bicycle Friendly America Winter 2018 - Cover1
Bicycle Friendly America Winter 2018 - Cover2
Bicycle Friendly America Winter 2018 - 1
Bicycle Friendly America Winter 2018 - 2
Bicycle Friendly America Winter 2018 - 3
Bicycle Friendly America Winter 2018 - 4
Bicycle Friendly America Winter 2018 - 5
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Bicycle Friendly America Winter 2018 - 35
Bicycle Friendly America Winter 2018 - Cover3
Bicycle Friendly America Winter 2018 - Cover4
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Summer2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Winter2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Fall2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Summer2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Winter2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Fall2016_GatewayDemo
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Fall2016
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Spring2016
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com