Transportation Feed

The Senate finally cranked the engine on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, but it's still got a ways to go before becoming law. One good thing about that extended journey is that it should give us time to read the legislative road map, aka the officially titled the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act's 2,702 pages. A bill that size offers a lot of detours. One that's getting some attention is the inclusion of a pilot program for a vehicle mileage tax, or VMT. The possibility of a VMT was broached, then dismissed, in early infrastructure talks. Basically, it's a fee... Read more →


Electric vehicle charging in a workplace garage. (Photo by Kay Bell) One of our errands this week was getting the hubby's vehicle inspected. It's required to renew the auto's annual state registration. We get to repeat the process in six months for my car. But when it comes to my Chevy sedan, I soon might be writing the state of Texas a larger check. I drive a hybrid and there's renewed interest in adding an annual surcharge to vehicles that don't rely solely on fossil fuel. Welcome, but pay, please: Sure, Lone Star State officials were thrilled when Elon Musk... Read more →


Do check out these following related — and legitimate — tax write-offs Sometimes your home is indeed located at the intersection of favorable tax breaks. Sometimes it's not. Below is a look at the difference between some questionable and acceptable residential (and more!) write-offs. Every tax-filing season, the great quest by filers is to find the most tax breaks. But there are some deductions and credits you should steer clear of. These expenses that don't meet Internal Revenue Service guidelines mean the agency will stop processing your tax return to give it second (or third, or …) look. At best,... Read more →


Tanker unloading crude oil (Photo by Hervé Cozanet, Marine-Marchande/Wikipedia Commons) Energy is on a lot of folks' minds right now. Europeans are keeping even warier eyes on Russia's invasion of Ukraine after an attack set off a fire at the continent's largest nuclear power plant. The immediate not horrific news is that there's no sign of radiation leaks at the Zaporizhzhia facility. However, damages to the infrastructure have left the nearly 53,000 residents of the Ukrainian city of Energodar almost without heat. It's unclear what the Russians, who've taken control of the plant grounds, are planning to do with the... Read more →


Even before Russia invaded Ukraine, gasoline prices in the United States were going up due to that Econ 101 basic supply and demand. During the COVID-19 pandemic, more U.S. workers starting doing their jobs remotely. Working from home meant no commuting, so fewer vehicle fill-ups. Oil producers, notably the OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) cartel, responded by cutting production sharply in 2020. Since then, things have returned to, for lack of better words, more normal. Demand for oil and products like gasoline has surged since pandemic lows. But production has not kept up. More people wanting a scarce... Read more →


Some of my friends are done with COVID-19, and have taken to traveling again, both within the United States and abroad. I'm not quite there yet, but if it works for them and I'm not on their flight or cruise ship, good for them. Also good for those who are taking international trips. I get to see their social media photo travelogues, and I know they are being responsible taxpayers. If they owed a major debt to the Internal Revenue Service, which currently is deemed an unpaid tax bill of $55,000 or more, they likely would have had their passports... Read more →


Photo by Alesia Kozik from Pexels President Joe Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 (IIJA) into law on Monday, Nov. 15. The new law, like prior transportation bills, does include plenty of traditional roads and bridges provisions. But it went decidedly digital to help cover some of its $1.2 trillion costs. The IIJA includes reporting requirements that mandate cryptocurrency exchanges share information with the Internal Revenue Service. The good news for crypto fans who are freaking out is that they have time to adjust. These reporting rules generally don't go into effect until 2023. Here are... Read more →


There's one thing that every taxpayer, regardless of their financial situation, can agree on. We all want to pay the least amount of taxes to Uncle Sam as possible. The key way to get our taxable income to the lowest possible level is by claiming deductions, either the standard option by itemizing as discussed in Part 2 of the ol' blog's annual inflation adjustment series. Either option helps lower your taxable income. But there are additional deductions we should check out at filing time, like the above-the-line deductions anyone can claim. Then there are tax credits, which are a better... Read more →


Photo by Joshua Welch via Pexels It actually happened. Infrastructure Week — or more accurately, weeks — finally is real. And it will be officially celebrated on Monday, Nov. 15, when President Joe Biden signs H.R. 3684, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, into law. The measure, of course, provides fund for traditional transportation projects across the United States. It also includes money for soft infrastructure efforts, notably extending broadband internet service to the more rural parts of the country, as well as several environmental components. Overall, the bill costs $1.2 trillion. Of that amount, $550 billion of new federal... Read more →


The Capitol Hill debate over how cryptocurrency taxes fit into the funding of the infrastructure bill continues. Most Americans, however, already have decided that stronger Internal Revenue Service oversight of digital asset transactions are OK. Virtual assets meet the infrastructure road: Part of the payment of the $1 trillion infrastructure measure now before the Senate would come from stricter enforcement of cryptocurrency transactions. The Internal Revenue Service considers virtual currency a capital asset, meaning potential taxes when transactions produce a profit. The agency has ramped up efforts to track virtual currency moves in recent year. A provision in the infrastructure... Read more →


One thing missing from how to pay for the $1 trillion infrastructure bill finally being debated on Capitol Hill is an increase in the federal gas tax. This fuel excise tax originated during the Great Depression as a temporary added penny to each gallon of gasoline. Back then, 1932 to be precise, a gallon of gas cost 18 cents; that's around $2.90 in today's dollars, which is just a few cents more than what I paid this week to fill up my Chevy. Some lawmakers periodically call for an increase in this tax, which goes to the Highway Trust Fund... Read more →


UPDATE, Aug. 9, 2021: A last-minute push to limit new cryptocurrency tax reporting requirements in the $1 trillion infrastructure package (see Aug. 4 update below) failed today, despite a bipartisan agreement and a frenzied lobbying push, per The Washington Post. UPDATE, Aug. 4, 2021: In response to the concerns elaborated on in the rest of this post, a bipartisan group of lawmakers has offered an alternative cryptocurrency revenue-raising plan. The amendment was crafted by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and Republican Sens. Pat Toomey (more on his complaints later in this post) of Pennsylvania and Cynthia Lummis of... Read more →


With companies reopening as the coronavirus has abated somewhat, rush-hour traffic has returned to highways across the United States. Austin area workers, like these on the Capital of Texas Highway, are among those resuming commuting. (Photo by Tony Webster via Flickr) Many workplaces across the United States are returning, at least in part, to pre-COVID-19 form. That means many employees are heading back to their offices. And that means commuting is returning, too. The good news for many workers is that they get tax-free help in going back to their jobs. Since it's been a while between bus, train, vanpool... Read more →


More tourists, including American travelers, are expected this year at the Louvre and other European destinations as countries continue to get a better handle on the coronavirus. (Photo by Dimitry Anikin from Pexels) Most Americans are looking forward July 4th to celebrations this year like the ones they enjoyed pre-COVID. The vaccinated hubby and I are among that group, although I admit that last year's fireworks free festivities were fine with us. Others, however, are planning on declaring their coronavirus independence in a global fashion. The European Union (EU) plans a gradual and partial easing of its international travel ban... Read more →


Photo courtesy Zutobi Could it be? Is Infrastructure Week finally happening? Maybe. There are bills and revisions to bills and working groups and bipartisan agreements and partisan criticisms of agreements. The only thing that the, at last rough count, eight transportation-plus proposals floating around on Capitol Hill have in common is that none has the votes right now in either chamber to pass. But things are fluid and could change, for better or worse (depending on your political and fiscal position), at any time. The only certainty is that something must be done by the end of this 2021 fiscal... Read more →


The Biden Administration has made no secret of its support for electric vehicles. President Joe Biden emphasized that commitment, as well as his general love of motoring, when he took the wheel of Ford's new electric pickup truck at the Michigan plant on May 18. Now Congress is following up on the White House electric auto initiative. $5,000 EV credit hike: Part of the Clean Energy for America bill would boost the current maximum electric vehicle (EV) tax credit from $7,500 to a potential $12,500. It cleared the Senate Finance Committee on May 26. The added $5,000 in tax credits... Read more →


During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, airline health protocols got most of the attention. That's not surprising, since when flying, we're all trapped for hours with strangers in a metal tube with recycle air. Now, with more of us vaccinated and ready to get out again and see sights beyond our homes, the travel focus has shifted. It's Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer and a major road-tripping holiday. Highway bound: AAA expects Memorial Day 2021 travel to rebound substantially. The national motoring membership organization predicts 60 percent more travelers this long holiday weekend than last year's... Read more →


Archer Daniels Midland is one of the major corporations cited in a new report of companies that paid no taxes in 2020. The Biden Administration's infrastructure plan has ramped up the perennial tax debate between Democrats and Republicans. The White House wants to increase tax collections on companies to pay for the proposal, dubbed The American Jobs Plan. And that approach is getting some support from a recent Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) report. The Washington, D.C. nonprofit found that 55 of the largest U.S. companies paid nothing in federal income taxes last year. The $0 tax payments... Read more →


President Joe Biden's heart may belong to his 1967 classic Corvette Stingray, but he's working to make Uncle Sam's 600,000 automotive fleet electric. (Photo by Adam Schultz via Flicker) Much of the focus on the new White House understandably has been on President Joe Biden's COVID-19 relief package. But Biden also has been pushing his alternative energy plans, specifically a move to electric vehicles (EVs). Just days after his inauguration, he vowed to replace the bulk of the federal government's fleet of vehicles with made-in-America EVs. On Tuesday, March 2, Biden met virtually with executives in the EV charging infrastructure... Read more →


No, there isn't an electric version of Chevrolet's iconic Corvette (because who would want that!), but you have lots of other electric vehicle options that could get you not only a new car, but a nice federal tax credit. There are a couple of television commercials I look forward to every holiday season. There's the Corona Extra "Oh Tannenpalm" spot that's been airing for 30 years. And, of course, there's Hershey's Kisses handbell choir, which has been running even longer. Not as welcome, but as inescapable this time of year are the automaker ads with cars bearing giant bows. I've... Read more →


Voters' voices literally matter each election when initiatives are on ballots. Here are results of some tax questions that were decided by the 2020 electorate. Vice President Joseph R. Biden today was declared president-elect of the United States. It took longer than usual, but that part of Nov. 3 (Donald J. Trump legal challenges notwithstanding) is over. Decisions on the myriad ballot questions that also went before voters across the county on the first Tuesday of November came a bit sooner. Here's a quick look at the results of the tax initiatives in the order they were featured in my... Read more →