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|
|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|
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.