Boxer and Inhofe Say Transportation Bill Almost Ready, Funding Still TBD

Two leading Washington lawmakers assured reporters Wednesday that a long-term transportation bill is coming, but provided little in the way of details.

Senators James Inhofe (R-OK) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA), chair and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, respectively, held a press conference Wednesday featuring a line-up of construction and labor leaders demanding “action on transportation.” The event is shown in the above video in its entirety.

Inhofe told reporters a draft six-year bill is almost ready. Just six weeks remain before the current extension of MAP-21 expires, and the Highway Trust Fund is set to run out of money in July — potentially threatening the construction season.

A critical hurdle for lawmakers is settling on a funding source to replace the declining gas tax, which hasn’t been raised since 1993. Just yesterday a bipartisan group from the House asked Congress to raise it.

But little was said about funding at the press conference. Boxer said while she is supportive, there isn’t much appetite for an increase in taxes on gasoline or crude oil. “I will do almost anything to fill that trust fund,” she said.

Boxer said she would be “dropping a bill” with Rand Paul to generate revenues by “repatriating” overseas profits on U.S. corporations hiding out overseas to avoid taxes.

“I’m hopeful that this type of reform can bring us together and unite us,” she said. The Hill reports lawmakers are divided on whether to make that 5 percent tax on corporate profits overseas voluntary or mandatory. Paul and Boxer say the repatriation tax bill could bring $2 trillion in revenue.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Boxer Pushes LaHood on Financing for Transportation

|
Senator Barbara Boxer got down to brass tacks on transportation funding in a committee hearing yesterday, even as DOT Secretary Ray LaHood remained vague on how to pay for the president’s ambitious proposal. Boxer said she’s not in favor of raising the gas tax, but she’d like it to be indexed to inflation. “We don’t […]

Transpo Bill Update: Congress Tees Up Two More Months of the Same

|
Can anything spur Congress to overhaul a federal transportation policy that lets states run amok building highway expansions while the rest of our infrastructure goes to seed? Don’t hold your breath — the cycle of extending the status quo transportation bill is starting all over again. Last Monday, the Obama Administration began warning state departments of transportation that […]

T&I Chair Bill Shuster Complicates Matters With Push for VMT Fee

|
All options may be on the table for funding transportation, but Bill Shuster has chosen his. Rep. Shuster, head of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, hasn’t been willing to commit to any one proposal for funding transportation until now. And his choice may make things complicated. At a Bloomberg Government event yesterday, Shuster came […]

Two-Year Transpo Bill Moves on to Full Senate Without Bike/Ped Protections

|
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted unanimously this morning to pass a two-year transportation reauthorization bill, moving the bill one step closer to passage by the full Senate. Unlike in the House, where the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has full responsibility for the transportation bill, the Senate splits jurisdiction among several committees, so […]

It Gets Worse: Boxer/Inhofe to Request $50B More for Highways

|
Barbara Boxer and infamous global warming denier James Inhofe will present an amendment to the Senate stimulus plan that could funnel as much as $50 billion in additional funding to highways, Streetsblog has learned. Friends of the Earth tells us that Boxer’s staff confirmed she will introduce the amendment, which could bring the total for […]