McCarthy vows to pass six-year highway bill

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who is looking to succeed outgoing Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), is vowing to pass a six-year extension of federal transportation.

"Well, fundamental, I’m going to change as Speaker. We’re going to make sure we get the highway bill done," said McCarthy on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Tuesday, when asked how he would differ from the departing Boehner.

"If we pass a highway bill with tax reform at the same time, that's policy," he continued. "That changes the inversion process; that means more money comes back to America.  That puts a six-year highway bill on to the floor and starts moving and building roads that we need in American infrastructure."

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McCarthy is seen as the favorite to replace Boehner, who has said he would leave Congress in October.

Congress is facing an Oct. 29 deadline for extending the federal government's authority to pay states for transportation projects.

Transportation advocates complain that Congress has not passed an infrastructure measure that lasts longer than two years since 2005 due to a highway funding shortfall that is estimated to be $16 billion annually.

The traditional source for transportation funding is revenue that is collected by the federal gas tax, which is currently set at 18.4 cents-per-gallon. The gas tax brings about $34 billion per year, but the federal government typically spends about $50 billion annually on transportation projects.

Transportation advocates have pushed for an increase in the gas tax to help make up the difference, but McCarthy said Tuesday that he would prefer using revenue from corporate overseas taxes to pay for roads.

"You’re not going to see an increase in tax, gasoline tax, no, but you’re going to see a change in the tax structure to territorial tax," he said.

McCarthy was also confident he could move a long-term bill.

"You’re going to see a difference that it’s going to be a six-year bill," he continued. "You're going to see reforms when you want to talk about policy as well, that we don’t wait 10 years when we approve a road to be built.

"You’re going to see that they’re going to have the process if a state already has [the California Environmental Quality Act] involved there, is you don't have to duplicate when it comes to the environmental controls. So we’re going to find a bill done next month that is a six-year highway bill," he added.