House Democrats Release “Moving Forward Framework”

House Democrats Release “Moving Forward Framework”

Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on facebook
Share on email

House Democrats today released a framework for infrastructure investments (“Moving Forward Framework”) that includes transportation reauthorization, broadband, aviation, wastewater, and drinking water. The total investment contained in the package is $760 billion over five years (see the chart at the bottom for a breakdown of how these funds are distributed by program).

Regarding transportation reauthorization, today’s framework does not contain much detail but provides broad outlines of what to expect when the full reauthorization bill is released in a couple of months. Thematically, the framework focuses on state of good repair, fossil fuels and carbon emissions, and resilience. There is also a lengthy session that contemplates how the legislation will revamp many of the existing core formula programs (see pages 3-4 of the framework document). It is within this section that the most relevant changes may occur for transportation planning and project implementation.

A couple of examples:

  • Expands Local Control – Expands decision-making over Federal funds to other levels of government and provides additional authority to metropolitan planning organizations that demonstrate the capacity to administer Federal funds. Amends the suballocation process to ensure mid-sized communities receive a portion of program funds.
  • Modernizes Project Planning – Requires States and MPOs to prioritize transportation access and to consider during the planning process all system users, job access, connections to housing, and creation of transportation options in underserved communities.


Other relevant sections of interest to regions focus on greater investment in regionally-significant projects; alternative fuel infrastructure; and transit and rail investments. Outside of the transportation section, there is focus on broadband deployment, increased water resources projects through the Army Corps of Engineers, clean water resources, and brownfields.

Whether this will move as one large package or separated into pieces is unclear at this time, as is the timing and, perhaps most importantly, funding. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) indicated today that action will not happen in the very near term, and T&I committee staff yesterday indicated it will be at least March before we see a reauthorization bill draft released. Though this was released as a Democrat-only proposal, it is hopeful to note that T&I Committee Republicans issued a release indicating their willingness to work together on getting a package done.

Resources:

Total Investment Levels

Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
Highway and Transit Programs $434B

  • Transformative Highway Investments $319B
  • Transformative Transit Investments $105B
  • Transformative Safety Investments $10B

Rail Transportation $55B

  • Transformative Rail Investments $55B

Airport and Airway Infrastructure $30B

  • Transformative Airport Investments $30B

Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund $19.7B
Water Resources $10B

  • Transformative Water Resources Investments $7B
  • Transformative Inland Waterways Investments $3B

Clean Water $50.5B

  • Transformative Water Investments $47.1B
    • Clean Water State Revolving Funding Investment $40B
    • State Clean Water Compliance Assistance $1.5B
    • Clean Water Act Grant Program Investments $5.6B
  • Transformative Regional Investments $3.4B

Transportation and Infrastructure and Energy and Commerce Committees (joint jurisdiction)

Brownfields Restoration and Reinvestment $2.7B

Energy and Commerce Committee

Clean Drinking Water and Clean Energy $59.7B

  • Transformative Drinking Water Investments $25.4B
  • Transformative Clean Energy Investments $34.3B

Broadband and Communications $98B

  • Transformative Broadband Investments $86B
  • Public Safety Communications Investments $12B

Questions? Contact Erich Zimmermann at erich@narc.org or 202.618.5697.

A Brief Update on SALT Deduction Cap Legislation

Just before leaving for their holiday recess, the House passed legislation that would suspend the $10,000 cap for state and local (SALT) tax deductions imposed by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2017. The legislation, the Restoring Tax Fairness for States and Localities Act (HR 5377) would increase the cap for married, joint-filers to $20,000 for their 2019 taxes and eliminate the deduction cap entirely for 2020 and 2021.

The SALT deduction allows taxpayers to deduct the amount of state and local taxes that they have paid from their federal taxes. This allowance supports state and local authority to impose the taxes necessary to provide public services, following the longstanding U.S. system of fiscal federalism. The existing cap opens taxpayers to being taxed twice on the same income: once by states and localities and then again by the federal government.

Since removal of the deduction cap would result in reduced federal tax revenue, the House bill includes an increase to the top marginal income tax rate from 37% to 39.6%. The legislation would also reduce the dollar amount at which the increased tax rate begins. According to a Tax Foundation analysis, removing the SALT cap would reduce federal tax revenue by about $177 billion, and increasing the top individual income tax rate to 39.6 percent and widening the top bracket would raise about $162 billion. This would result in a net tax cut over 10 years, reducing federal revenue by $18.8 billion.

While this legislation has passed the House, a corresponding bill has not yet been introduced in the Senate. The tax rate increases and anticipated loss of federal tax revenue of HR 5377 are likely to create challenges to passage in the upper chamber. Additionally, the current impeachment situation can be expected to be a further impede all upcoming Senate legislative action, including a potential SALT deduction bill.

NARC will continue to follow SALT deduction legislation and will work to support solutions like HR 5377 that support local government efforts to raise the funds they need to provide public services to their communities.