Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

Senate Transportation Bill Finds Offsets for Three Years of Funding

Jul 22, 2015 | Other Spending

The Senate is discussing a bill that would reauthorize highway programs for six years and provide $47.6 billion of funding to cover the Highway Trust Fund shortfall for the first three years. The money is a transfer of general revenue to the fund offset with real savings.

These are the provisions used to offset the $47.6 billion cost:

Offsets in Senate Transportation Bill
Policy Ten-Year Savings
Reduce the fixed dividend rate the Federal Reserve pays larger banks $17.1 billion
Sell 101 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve $9.0 billion
Index customs fees for inflation $5.7 billion
Extend current budget treatment of TSA fees from 2023 to 2025 $3.5 billion
Use private debt collectors to collect overdue tax payments $2.4 billion
Extend Fannie/Freddie guarantee fees $1.9 billion
Require lenders to report more information on outstanding mortgages $1.8 billion
Rescind TARP funds for the Hardest Hit Fund $1.7 billion
Close an estate tax loophole about the reporting of property $1.5 billion
Clarify the statute of limitations on reassessing certain tax returns $1.2 billion
Devote civil penalties for motor safety violations to the Highway Trust Fund $0.6 billion
Revoke or deny passports for those with seriously delinquent taxes $0.4 billion
Stop paying interest when companies overpay for mineral leases $0.3 billion
Adjust tax-filing deadlines for businesses $0.3 billion
Allow employers to transfer excess defined-benefit plan assets to retiree medical accounts and group-term life insurance $0.2 billion
Total $47.6 billion

Source: Senate Finance Committee

We'll be writing more about the various transportation plans soon. We've previously described the smaller House transportation bill. Our paper The Road to Sustainable Highway Spending lays out one possible path to a more permanent solution for the Highway Trust Fund.

Update: This table was updated on July 23 to reflect a change in the proposal to remove a policy that would cut off Social Security payments from fugitive felons and to increase the estimates for several other provisions. The original bill saved $47.2 billion.