Late Friday evening, the United States Senate passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) appropriations bill to fund federal government programs at Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 levels through April 28, 2017 by a vote of 63-36. The U.S. House of Representatives had passed the measure the previous day by a vote of 326-96. The government had been operating under a short-term CR that was set to expire at midnight on Friday.
Due to the length of this extension, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is expected to make partial-year apportionments to its grantees. Unfortunately, since the CR is at FY 2016 funding levels, the increases authorized by the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act for FY 2017 will not yet be realized. It is also important to note that past practice of partial year apportionments suggests that FTA will not make partial year allocations for Capital Investment Grants.
APTA will continue to advocate for a subsequent full-year FY 2017 appropriations bill at FAST Act authorization levels.
Alternative Fuel Tax Extenders
With both chambers of Congress in recess until the 115th Congress convenes in January, one piece of unfinished business remains expiring or expired tax provisions, commonly referred to as “tax extenders.” APTA has advocated for alternative fuels tax incentives for compressed (CNG) and liquefied (LNG) natural gas, as well as the alternative fuels property (infrastructure) credit. In the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015, these provisions were revived one year retroactively, as well as one year forward, and are once again set to expire at the end of this calendar year. It is not unusual for such provisions to be retroactively extended, and APTA will continue to advocate for the continuation of these important tax provisions going forward.
Also, as a reminder, the PATH Act put the transit commuter tax benefit on parity with parking benefits permanently. Although this issue was traditionally part of the short-term “extenders,” the increased level for the commuter benefit will continue without Congressional action.
Congressional Calendars Released for 2017