Ryan: $10 billion stopgap in the works as a “Plan B” for Highway Trust Fund

Updated May 5, 2015

IRS Political GroupsPaul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) says a $10 billion stopgap measure is being planned to provide temporary transportation project funding for the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) for the remainder of 2015, if permanent funding isn’t passed prior to the current May 31 deadline.

According to a report from The Hill, working with Ryan on the patch are Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), as well as Congressman Sandy Levin (D-Michigan).

“We don’t need all that time, but like with tax reform we just need the Senate,” Ryan said in the The Hill report.

The House Ways and Means Committee chairman was referencing the recent Invest in Transportation Act, S. 981, proposed by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-California) and Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), that calls for a 6.5% tax on repatriated foreign earnings to fund highway spending.

Ryan is in favor of the repatriation effort, rather than increasing the gas tax that now funds the HTF, but believes it won’t be possible without long-term tax reform, which is generally contentious and slow moving.

“We have to exhaust the possibility that we can do that with the administration,” he said in The Hill report. “If we can’t [get repatriation], we’ll go to plan B to put together a pay-for package for a multi-year highway bill,” he said.

A separate long-term transportation funding bill was recently introduced by a bipartisan group of members of the House that would tie the gas tax to inflation. The bill also would create a bipartisan, bicameral Transportation Commission.