Nov. 23, 2015 – According to the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA), the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released its estimates of the costs of the House surface transportation reauthorization facilitating a serious discussion by the conferees of the funding levels of the final bill.
The House accepted the Senate DRIVE Act pay-fors totaling $47 billion and funding three years of the six year authorization. Prior to passage, however, the House eliminated the $17 billion Senate pay-for that deleted dividends paid by the Federal Reserve to member banks, and substituted an amendment that going forward would require transfer of the Federal Reserve surplus account to the General Fund to offset the highway bill costs.
Initial estimates were borne out by the CBO estimates. The bottom line is that CBO says the House passed bill can support $78 billion in increased deposits in the Highway Trust Fund, and that money with extension of the current motor fuel user fee will fully support spending levels in the bill, leaving a $6 billion balance in 2021. in fact the House pay fors will support a five-year bill as forecasted by Senate EPW Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) last week. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), confirmed to NSSGA that the plan was to use the whole of the Federal Reserve surplus to offset the costs of the highway bill.