APTA's Reaction to the Senate's "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act"

Nov. 15, 2017
The following is a statement by Richard A. White, acting president and CEO, American Public Transportation Association on the Senate's "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act".

The following is a statement by Richard A. White, acting president and CEO, American Public Transportation Association;

"The American Public Transportation Association and its more than 1,500 members have significant concerns with the Chairman's Mark of the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act." While we are grateful that, unlike the House proposal, the Chairman's Mark appears to maintain Private Activity Bonds, we are disappointed that the legislation would eliminate or significantly alter important provisions of the tax code that serve the national interest, provide substantial tax benefits to all Americans, and support investments in our nation's infrastructure.

With Congress facing the dual challenges of the impending Highway Trust Fund insolvency while also developing a significant new infrastructure initiative, the time to act is now. This tax bill represents the best and most realistic opportunity to accomplish this goal of developing a predictable, long-term federal commitment to surface transportation investment.

The transit commute benefit provides substantial savings to both the employer and the employee. APTA strongly supports both the pretax option and the employer deduction for these expenses. Unfortunately, the Chairman's Mark appears to eliminate an employer's ability to deduct these expenses. This would be a disincentive for employers to provide this critical benefit that helps defray costs for working families.

APTA and its members believe this legislation should extend the alternative fuels and related infrastructure tax credits that expired on December 31, 2016. APTA also supports the inclusion of electric and hybrid electric vehicles within eligible uses, and urges the Committee to reconsider extending and expanding these important tax credits.

APTA is also disappointed that this legislation would eliminate the ability to advance refund municipal bonds, which are an important infrastructure financing mechanism. The ability to take advantage of lower interest rates for a one-time refinance is a significant factor in the attractiveness and utility of municipal bonds, and its repeal would only disincentivize their use. This provision is particularly surprising as Congress and the Administration develop a new infrastructure initiative focused on attracting private-sector investment and encouraging public-private partnerships.

In conclusion, we urge Congress to use this once-in-a-generation opportunity to reform the tax code to encourage greater investment in our nation's infrastructure, not discourage it. We look forward to working with Congress on this and other issues as it continues to develop this most significant piece of legislation."