Federal Transportation Funding Secured for 2010 – Incentives Provided for Hiring Unemployed Workers

The Senate passed and the President signed the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (H.R. 2847) this week that would provide tax incentives for hiring unemployed workers.  The details of the tax credits that are available for bringing back unemployed workers are still being reviewed.  Staff at MITA understands that your company may be bringing back laid off employees, so information will be sent out as it becomes available.

The legislation also provides federal highway authorization through the end of the calendar year to ensure no MDOT lettings will be delayed for the remainder of 2010.

The measure contains many changes to law long-advocated by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) to strengthen the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), including:  a one-time transfer of $19.5 billion in previously foregone interest payments into the HTF; a shift in the cost of fuel tax exemptions for state and local governments from the HTF to the general fund which will generate an anticipated $1.5 billion annually; and a change to current law that will allow the HTF to retain interest earned on future unexpended balances.  The legislation also features a tax incentive for capital purchases and “Build America Bonds” to lower state and local borrowing costs for infrastructure projects.

This legislation does not provide any new money (i.e. stimulus dollars), but it does provide assurances that the federal money will be available to pay for the program already in progress, thus avoiding the possibility of the HTF going into bankruptcy.

MITA continues to urge both Congress and the White House to develop a robust multi-year reauthorization for passage before the December 31 expiration of this latest extension.  The House and Senate transportation committees are continuing to hold hearings on a multi-year reauthorization.