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GENERAL SESSION 4 Transportation Finance in the Context of Reauthorization and Beyond Congressional Viewpoint Mortimer Downey, PBConsult, Inc. Jonathan Upchurch, U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Joyce Rose, U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Megan Stanley, U.S. Senate, Environment and Public Works Committee Jeff Squires, U.S. Senate, Environment and Public Works Committee PANEL OF CONGRESSIONAL STAFFERS sion, the donordonee situation, and Amtrak's financial condition. Mortimer Downey Mortimer Downey moderated the first of two final panels, REAUTHORIZATION AND FINANCING a panel of congressional staff that included Joyce Rose · Jonathan Upchurch, U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure; Rose offered her perspective on transit and reauthoriza- · Joyce Rose, U.S. House of Representatives, Com- tion. She related the achievements of TEA-21: in particu- mittee on Transportation and Infrastructure; lar, securing guaranteed funding through budgetary and · Megan Stanley, U.S. Senate, Environment and Public financial firewalls, had never been done before and should Works Committee; and be maintained as part of reauthorization. Despite the · Jeff Squires, U.S. Senate, Environment and Public advances of TEA-21, Rose pointed out that the growth in Works Committee. revenues was still far less than in identified needs. Rose discussed the potential of indexing the gas tax at the national level and noted that 11 states index their THE CAPITOL HILL ENVIRONMENT state gas taxes. She offered alternatives to raise revenue: Jonathan Upchurch · Spending down cash balances in the Highway Trust Fund, Initiating the panel presentation, Upchurch described · Indexing the gas tax to inflation, the environment on Capitol Hill: the 108th Congress · Crediting the Highway Account of the Trust Fund with a full plate with homeland security challenges, war with ethanol tax revenues currently going to the with Iraq, and potential changes in political control. He General Fund and, eliminating the tax subsidy, reported the strains of the federal fiscal situation, the · Crediting the Trust Fund with interest earnings, number of new players since TEA-21, and the changes · Addressing fuel tax evasion, and in leadership on the relevant committees. · Expanding innovative financing--though differ- Upchurch highlighted several areas of focus: smooth- ent from the other revenue-producing options, this step ing out the Revenue Aligned Budget Authority provi- could help stretch available resources. 25