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Paul Ryan says infrastructure overhaul will be split into 5 or 6 bills

Lindsey McPherson, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in News & Features

"We're going to do the traditional infrastructure you're thinking of, which is like highways and roads and bridges," he said.

The current surface transportation authorization lasts through fiscal 2020 and the Highway Trust Fund that pays for federal highway and transit spending is projected to run out of money shortly after.

Democrats and some Republicans, like Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa., have called for an increase in the federal fuel taxes that flow into the trust fund. Ryan, however, has ruled that out.

"We're not going to raise gas taxes. ... We're just not going to do that here," the speaker said Wednesday on a telephone town hall with conservative activists from Americans for Prosperity. "There are some people who are talking about that, but the last thing we want to do is pass historic tax relief in December and then undo that, so we are not going to raise gas taxes."

House Transportation and Infrastructure ranking member Peter A. DeFazio said an infrastructure funding bill cannot pass without new revenue attached to it. He prefers a gas tax increase and said it was up to Trump to convince Ryan.

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"I've said all along: Ryan is ideologically opposed to the federal government funding a national transportation system," the Oregon Democrat said. "I never expected him to be supportive and I told President Trump if he wanted to do a real gas tax increase that he was gonna have to take on the speaker of the House and his leadership team."

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