Congress Passes Federal Transportation Funding Legislation

On June 29, 2012, Congress passed the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) by a vote of 373 to 52 in the House and 74 to 19 in the Senate.  The legislation extends excise taxes funding the federal Highway Trust Fund through September, 2014, in the case of the motor fuel taxes and through September, 2016, in the case of the heavy vehicle use taxes.  Other tax-related provisions in the legislation extend cigarette taxes to roll-your-own cigarette machines and increase premiums paid to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.  Other pension-related provisions stabilize interest rates for funding defined benefit plans and allow employers to transfer pension assets to fund retiree health benefits and retiree life insurance.  Key non-tax provisions maintain low student loan interest rates and reauthorize the federal flood insurance program.  The legislation is expected to raise $20.4 billion over 10 years, of which $16.3 billion would go to reduce the deficit.  President Obama is expected to sign the legislation.  A separate bill passed Congress by unanimous consent to provide a temporary funding extension to July 6, 2012, in order to give the President time to sign the legislation.



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