Boehner Oil Plan Seen by CBO Raising 5% of Needed Transit Funds

A Republican plan boosting U.S. oil production in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska to pay for mass transit would generate 5 percent of the funds lawmakers say are needed, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates.

Adding production would raise $2.06 billion for the U.S. budget by the end of 2016, and total $4.28 billion by 2022, the CBO said in reports yesterday. Republicans are seeking $40 billion for U.S. mass-transit needs through 2016.

The House Natural Resources Committee, led by Representative Doc Hastings, a Washington Republican, last week approved three measures that would boost energy production, as a part of House Speaker John Boehner’s plan to fund transportation projects and create U.S. jobs.

The trust fund that finances road and bridge projects through vehicle-fuel taxes may become insolvent before the November election unless lawmakers find additional funding.

Opening U.S. waters off the coast of Florida and Virginia to oil and gas production would bring $1.78 billion by 2022, while permitting energy companies into a small part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would add $2.5 billion, the CBO said. The plan to expand leasing in the Rocky Mountain oil-shale region wouldn’t have any impact through 2022, according to calculations posted on the agency website with yesterday’s date.

House Republicans have proposed no longer using vehicle-fuel taxes to pay for mass-transit projects. Instead, they seek a one-time transfer of $40 billion from the U.S. general fund for transit needs over four years. To do that, lawmakers would need to find new revenue to offset a transfer. The oil leases would be used to partially offset the transfer, Boehner has said.

House Republicans’ oil plan has no similar bill in the Senate. The bills are H.R. 3407, 3408 and 3410.

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