Senate Finance Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, has also been reluctant to embrace the idea of raising the gas tax.
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee last July approved a five-year, $287 billion surface transportation bill (S 2302). But Grassley’s committee, which has jurisdiction over how to pay for the bill, has yet to take it up. Two other Senate committees — Banking and Commerce, and Science and Transportation — also have jurisdiction over elements of that bill.
Though it is the most well-known source of funding, the Highway Trust Fund is far from the only mechanism used to pay for infrastructure. The Airport and Airway Trust Fund; the Inland Waterways Trust Fund and the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund also contribute to federal infrastructure projects.
DeFazio noted there has also been a boost in the New Markets Tax Credits program, which has been tapped previously to provide incentives for electrification projects in economically struggling areas. With the tax credit allocation for this year raised from $3.5 billion to $5 billion, DeFazio suggested there could be a larger electrification component in the infrastructure package than some expect.
President Donald Trump and House Democrats had looked close to reaching a comprehensive infrastructure agreement in early May 2019, when Trump appeared to embrace the notion of a bill that could cost up to $2 trillion.
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