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December 8, 2017 4:45 PM, EST

AASHTO to Tax Leaders: Advance Private Activity Bonds

The national group representing state transportation directors again called on tax policy leaders on Capitol Hill to produce tax reform legislation that would help advance infrastructure projects.

House and Senate negotiators are reconciling differences in their respective tax bills. Their goal is to produce a final tax reform package before year’s end.

The Senate version of the tax bill would keep an exemption for private activity bonds, which many cities utilize for the financing of big-ticket infrastructure projects. The House bill would eliminate the tax exemption.

“Serving as an important infrastructure financing tool that attracts private sector investment to public-purpose facilities, [private activity bonds] have catalyzed successful financing of large transportation projects across the country,” Bud Wright, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, wrote to Democratic and Republican leaders and the chairmen and ranking members on the tax-writing committees on Dec. 8.

“Such public-private partnerships allow states to undertake larger and more complex projects and enable them to be delivered more innovatively and with potentially less risk for the public sector,” Wright said, adding, “At the time when the Administration and many in Congress are looking for ways to encourage private sector participation in meeting the transportation investment gap, eliminating this option is short-sighted.”

Advancing a tax overhaul would mark President Donald Trump’s first legislative achievement, and the first major update of the tax code in more than three decades.

AASHTO Comment on Tax Reform to Conferees by Transport Topics on Scribd