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            october 19, 2018

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US port and truck interests divide over Trump's tax reform measures


A long-standing division between Republican-minded truckers and pro-Democrat port interests have surfaced in reaction to the US president's proposed tax reforms.
The American Trucking Associations (ATA) fully endorses tax reform: lowering the tax rates on business income; broadening the tax base; and simplifying the tax code.
But the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) opposes reforms that undermine US seaports ability to go into debt via bonds and tax credits.
The AAPA said bill would eliminate tax-exempt status for Private Activity Bonds (PABs) and repeal the tax exemption for advanced refunding of bonds - both of which are used to fund port infrastructure.
The Senate bill also includes repealing the tax exemption for advanced refunding of bonds, affecting the ability of issuers to refinance those bonds at lower rates, reports American Shipper.
More upbeat, truckers association president Chris Spear said: "Major tax reform is now on the cusp of becoming law and igniting America's economic engine. Reforming this onerous tax code will enable trucking companies large and small to invest more into their businesses, creating good middle-income jobs and stimulating growth up and down the supply chain."
Said ATA chairman Dave Manning, also president of Nashville trucking company TCW Inc: "We see every day - in our operations, and those of our customers - what tax reform will do to get the economy moving ahead at full speed. A growing economy means more trucks on our roads to keep store shelves stocked and Americans?homes filled."
The truckers' ATA has hosted President Donald Trump in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and strongly endorsed the tax reform.
But the ports' AAPA said many planned capital projects would have been finance through selling debt via municipal and private activity bonds, a restricted process under the reforms.
Ports also opposed the bills cutbacks on wind energy Production Tax Credits to its 1992 level of $15 per megawatt hour, which is a substantial decrease from the current inflation-adjusted $24 per megawatt hour.
AAPA argues that such a provision would negatively impact investments in US wind energy projects and could threaten port jobs.

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