Trump may let Congress decide how to pay for his $1T infrastructure plan

Trump may let Congress decide how to pay for his $1T infrastructure plan
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President Trump may let Congress answer one of the key questions hanging over his $1 trillion infrastructure package: how to pay for it.

The White House is debating whether to identify funding offsets when it releases a proposal or let lawmakers hash it out at the committee-level, officials said on a press call Friday.

Trump outlined a broad sketch of his infrastructure plan in his budget proposal last week, with a more detailed legislative package expected to land later this summer.

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Coming up with a palatable offset is likely to be the biggest hurdle facing Trump’s ambitious plan to upgrade U.S. roads, bridges, airports and other public works.

Congress ended up paying for the last highway bill with a series of budgetary gimmicks, underscoring the challenge for lawmakers in coming up with long-term funding solutions.

Trump has signaled some openness to raising the federal gasoline tax to help pay for transportation, but Republican lawmakers quickly pushed back against the idea.

Another potential funding offset is using the revenue from repatriation, or taxing corporate earnings stashed overseas at a lower rate when it returns to the U.S., to pay for infrastructure investment.

The concept has some bipartisan support in Congress, but many conservatives would rather see that revenue used on overhauling the tax code.

Some other funding ideas that have been floated include charging fees based on the number of miles a vehicle travels, increasing existing sales and tires taxes, reallocating revenue from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, and lifting the federal cap on how much airports can charge passengers for facility upgrades.

Transportation leaders have said it’s likely going to take a wide variety of funding tools to deliver on the kind of massive investments Trump has promised.