As Congress grapples with the next round of funding for the rail and highway projects that have long been on the table, it is worth remembering that Congress could fund these projects in a way that would allow the federal government to pay for them, not the other way around.
The Transportation Trust Funds (TTFs) that are currently in existence can only fund projects that the president can certify as having the support of a majority of Congress.
The problem with this is that the President’s certification is not necessarily a guarantee that the project will actually get built.
If Congress does not agree to fund a rail project, the government can ask the President to delay it and then Congress can vote to cancel the Presidential certification.
The TTFs could be used as a way to fund projects, such as a bridge or transit project, that Congress has not approved but are necessary for the nation’s transportation infrastructure.
A number of projects have been proposed for funding, such a $1.4 billion tunnel to the Port of Seattle, which would go under Seattle, but has received no funding from Congress.
Another proposed tunnel, which could also connect to the Seattle waterfront, has also not received any support from Congress and would not be built.
Transportation officials also say that Congress is likely to approve a funding package for the Southwest Corridor extension that will help connect the Northeast Corridor with Interstate 405.
The proposal would also help connect Interstate 70 with I-405.
Congress could also approve a tunnel that would connect the West Coast with Interstate 5.
However, it would be a stretch to suggest that Congress would fund a project that the Administration has not formally certified as having support from a majority vote of Congress, let alone a majority that is split along partisan lines.
What Congress could do is give the President the authority to allocate funds for a transportation project in a manner that allows it to pay its way and would ensure that the federal funds will be used for the project.
This authority is also likely to be used to fund other infrastructure projects.
For example, if Congress did not approve a rail tunnel and a bridge, the President could use the authority of the TTFs to build the new bridge.
This would not require the President or Congress to authorize any further funding.
Another option for funding a transportation infrastructure project is to use the existing transportation funding mechanism that allows for a tax credit to be paid on the sale of a vehicle to offset the cost of the transportation infrastructure improvements.
The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 allows for the tax credit amount to be increased annually until it reaches $1,000 per vehicle.
The tax credit is available to people who make less than $150,000 annually, and it can be used up to $2,000 for each vehicle, which is $1 for every $100 of a taxpayer’s income.
The new Transportation Infrastructure Trust Fund Act of 2015 (H.R. 1) also allows for such an increase, but it would require Congress to pass an annual funding bill that includes provisions for the use of the tax credits.
Congress would also have to approve any increase in the tax incentives amount.
This new authority would also allow for the President, through executive order, to issue a new set of guidelines that would provide guidance on how the TIFs should be used.
A new transportation funding authority that includes new guidance on the use and allocation of transportation funding would be an important step toward making the Federal Government more transparent and accountable to the American people.
The American People need to know what they are getting for their dollars and how they can support their transportation infrastructure needs.
We urge you to contact your Senators and Representatives today and urge them to vote YES on the Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act of 2016, H.
This legislation is long overdue and is a necessary tool for transportation policy makers to help make our nation more efficient, secure, and prosperous.
The Honorable Tom Harkin, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure (HR 1) Committee on Transportation