This bill would fund highway and transportation projects through the Highway Trust Fund until December 18, 2015. The program’s spending authority is currently set to expire on July 31, 2015. The bill’s sponsors hope that an extension through the end of the year will give members of Congress enough time to reach a long-term agreement on highway and transportation funding.
The Highway Trust Fund finances the Interstate Highway System, and consequently, road construction projects and urban transit systems. It receives a large portion of its funding from the federal gasoline tax — which is currently 18.4 cents per gallon of regular fuel, and 24.4 cents per gallon for diesel fuel.
It is notable that this bill actually reduces the deficit between 2015 and 2025 by using a combination of spending reductions and provisions that would improve tax compliance. Among those offset provisions would be:
A requirement that lenders report additional information so that borrowers don’t understate their tax burden. Lawmakers estimate that this will provide an estimated $1.8 billion in offsets.
Giving the IRS a six-year window to review returns that were substantially understated. Estimated offsets? $1.2 billion.
Requiring estates subject to the estate tax to report the value of property upon the owner’s death — yielding an estimated $1.5 billion in offsets.
Extending a rule that allows employers to transfer excess defined-benefit plan assets to retiree medical accounts and group-term life insurance — yielding $172 million in offsets.
Equalizing taxes on liquefied natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, and compressed natural gas from different levels would provide $90 million in tax relief (not offsets).
The current budget treatment of TSA fees would be extended for two additional years, leading to $3.1 billion in offsets.