The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) has released a statement calling on Congress to encourage greater investment in infrastructure investments in Senate version of the Trump tax bill, “not discourage it.”
APTA supports maintaining Private Activity Bonds, but has concerns about the Senate Committee on Finance’s recent mark up of the Trump tax bill, known as the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” for eliminating or significantly altering certain provisions of the tax code as well as ignoring dwindling key transportation funding.
The organization is advocating for the tax bill to design long-term federal commitment to transportation investments:
With Congress facing the dual challenges of the impending Highway Trust Fund insolvency while also developing a significant new infrastructure initiative, the time to act is now,” according to a statement by APTA Acting President and CEO Richard A. White.
Also at issue for APTA is markups that:
- Disincentivize the commuter tax benefit
- Proposed changes that would eliminate advance refundability of municipal bonds
- Not renewing alternative fuels benefits
APTA said changes to the commuter tax benefit would eliminate an employer’s ability to deduct these expenses, jeopardizing a “critical benefit that helps defray costs for working families.”
The organization supports both the pretax option and the employer deduction.
APTA is very concerned the current bill eliminates the ability to advance refund municipal bonds, which are an important infrastructure financing mechanism, and one then President-Elect Donald Trump told the U.S. Conference of Mayors leadership he supported in December 2016 discussions on the tax status of muni bonds.
Repeal of a one-time refinance of municipal bonds would disincentivize their use in financing projects, according to the statement:
This provision is particularly surprising as Congress and the administration develop a new infrastructure initiative focused on attracting private-sector investment and encouraging public-private partnerships,” said White.
APTA is also advocating for the tax bill to extend alternative fuels and related infrastructure tax credits for electric and hybrid electric vehicles, which expired on December 31, 2016.
The statement follows a letter APTA sent to the Senate Committee on Finance Chairman, Senator Orrin Hatch, and the Ranking Member, Senator Ron Wyden, on November 10, 2017: