As proposed on August 1, 2021
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that over the 2021-2031 period, enacting Senate Amendment 2137 to H.R. 3684 would decrease direct spending by $110 billion, increase revenues by $50 billion, and increase discretionary spending by $415 billion. On net, the legislation would add $256 billion to projected deficits over that period.
The legislation would provide $382.9 billion in contract authority (a form of mandatory budget authority) for a variety of transportation programs over the 2022-2026 period. Under the rules governing baseline projections that are specified in the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, this estimate incorporates an assumption that the contract authority of about $79.9 billion that would be provided in 2026 (the final year of the authorization) would also be provided in each subsequent year. CBO therefore estimates that an additional $399.6 billion in contract authority would be available over the 2027-2031 period, for a total of $782.5 billion over the 10-year period. Over the 2022-2031 period, that total would be $196.5 billion more that the amount in CBO’s July 2021 baseline.
Spending from contract authority is controlled by obligation limitations specified in annual appropriation acts; therefore, the outlays for most surface transportation programs are considered discretionary and will be accounted for in a future appropriation bill that sets those limits. CBO estimates that outlays from obligation limitations equal to all of the available contract authority would total $362.7 billion over the 2021-2031 period: $287.0 billion for Federal Highway Administration programs, $66.5 billion for Federal Transit Administration programs, $4.3 billion for Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration programs, and $4.9 billion for National Highway Traffic Safety Administration programs. Some of those outlays would result from contract authority and obligation limitations already projected in CBO’s baseline.
Senate Amendment 2137 to H.R. 3684 would impose intergovernmental and private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA). CBO estimates that the aggregate cost of the intergovernmental mandates would fall below the annual threshold in UMRA ($85 million in 2021, adjusted annually for inflation) and that the aggregate cost of the private-sector mandates would exceed the UMRA threshold ($170 million in 2021, adjusted annually for inflation). The mandates would include new regulatory and administrative requirements for Amtrak and rail passenger carriers and railcar manufacturers; new vehicle safety standards for cars, limousines, and commercial vehicles; and requirements for commercial vehicle and car manufacturers to install equipment using certain new technology. They also would extend the collection period for certain coal-mining reclamation fees and renew certain fees to be paid for merchandise and by passengers entering the country and certain fees collected by the Federal Communications Commission. They would increase fees paid by companies that transport hazardous materials. Grants authorized under division B would offset some of the costs associated with implementing those requirements. The legislation also would preempt some state, local, and tribal laws that could otherwise cause government agencies to disclose information to the public.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is authorizing legislation; however, consistent with section 901 of title IX of division J of the legislation and in consultation with the Senate Committee on the Budget, CBO treats division J as appropriation legislation. Also, in keeping with the same section, CBO’s estimate of discretionary spending accounts for funds rescinded under section 90007 of division I that were previously designated by the Congress as an emergency requirement, in keeping with section 251(b)(2)(A)(i) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.
Enacting this legislation would create macroeconomic effects that in turn would cause budgetary feedback. CBO has not estimated those effects or their budgetary consequences for this legislation.
CBO has not determined whether enacting Senate Amendment 2137 to H.R. 3684 would increase on-budget deficits by more than $5 billion in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2032.