Congressional Committees Hold Hearings on Transportation Funding Challenges

Repatriation and Transportation Financing are the Focus 

This week, two congressional committees held hearings exploring the use of repatriation to fill the Highway Trust Fund revenue gap and additional financing for transportation infrastructure, respectively.  Congress must identify sources of revenue to fill the gap and pass a long-term transportation bill before the end of July, when the current extension expires, in order to keep highway & bridge construction projects running. AGC continues to push for a permanent fix for the Highway Trust Fund and supports innovative financing options that would increase the use of public-private partnerships, among other measures, to address our nation’s transportation infrastructure needs.

The House Ways & Means Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures held a hearing examining options for using revenue from repatriated foreign earnings from U.S. based corporations as a way to fill the $90 billion dollars needed to maintain Highway Trust Fund spending at current levels. The committee is tasked with identifying a revenue source that will allow for a long-term transportation reauthorization bill to move through the House of Representatives. They have yet to coalesce around a plan – although Chairman Paul Ryan has clearly stated that an increase in the gas tax is off the table – and are looking at various options, including repatriation.

Using repatriation as a way to pay for the next transportation bill has been widely discussed since Former Ways & Means Chairman Dave Camp included it in his 2014 tax overhaul draft and the Obama Administration proposed using it to pay for their reauthorization – the GROW Act.  Both the Camp plan and the administration’s proposal would set a mandatory (deemed) repatriation tax while a proposal from Senators Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) would allow for a voluntary repatriation of foreign earnings. AGC’s white paper explains the difference between mandatory and voluntary repatriation.

While the House seems to be very interested in using repatriation as a way to patch the Highway Trust Fund, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) remains opposed to the idea.  In fact, Hatch held a hearing to examine financing alternatives and additions to federal and local infrastructure financing. Finance Committee members heard from witnesses including former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Transportation about ways states can partner with the private sector to provide innovative financing options to address their transportation infrastructure needs.

For more information, please contact Sean O’Neill at or (202) 547-8892.