CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) have reviewed Rules Committee Print 114-32, an amendment to H.R. 22, the DRIVE Act (as passed by the Senate on July 30, 2015), as posted on the Web site of the House Committee on Rules on October 27, 2015. The estimated costs of the provisions of that amendment relative to CBO’s baseline projections are presented in Table 1.
Major Provisions and Estimated Cost
Rules Committee Print 114-32 would:
Provide $158 billion in contract authority (the authority to incur obligations in advance of appropriation acts and a mandatory form of budget authority) for surface transportation programs over the 2016-2018 period;
Provide $2 billion in contract authority, over the 2019-2021 period, for the salaries and expenses of Department of Transportation (DOT) staff to administer the programs, primarily so that obligations made with contract authority from prior years could be liquidated;
Rescind $6 billion of unobligated contract authority in 2018;
Authorize obligation limitations that would permit the use of $157 billion of contract authority over the 2016-2020 period and authorize the appropriation of $7 billion for programs administered by DOT; and
Appropriate $174 million for programs administered by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) over the 2016-2021 period.
CBO estimates that enacting Rules Committee Print 114-32 would:
Result in contract authority that is $355 billion less than the amount in CBO’s baseline over the 2016-2025 period (see Table 2);
Result in outlays of $137 billion over the 2016-2020 period assuming appropriation actions consistent with provisions in Rules Committee Print 114-32; and,
Have no cost, relative to CBO’s baseline, for the amount appropriated for PHMSA because it is equal to the amount projected in CBO’s baseline for this program.
CBO estimates that enacting the bill would not affect direct spending outlays. JCT estimates that enacting provisions of the bill that would reduce tax-exempt bond issuances which would lead to an increase in revenues of $17 million over the 2016-2025 period; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply.
On October 30, 2015, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for H.R. 3763 as reported by the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure on October 29, 2015. Rules Committee Print 114-32 is similar to the provisions in H.R. 3763; however, it does not include provisions that would increase contract authority by about $9 billion in 2017 nor does it contain a provision that would permit the Federal Transit Administration to spend certain funds on oversight activities for the safety of public transit. Those differences are reflected in the CBO’s cost estimates.