The recent enactment of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 extended and significantly expanded the existing tax credit for carbon sequestration under Section 45Q of the Internal Revenue Code. Although the Section 45Q credit for carbon sequestration has been available since 2008, the limitations and uncertainty associated with the credit greatly limited its effectiveness in spurring investment in eligible carbon capture equipment. As amended, the new Section 45Q represents a serious attempt by Congress to make the credit more attractive by incorporating a number of industry-favorable changes.

Check out McGuireWoods’ legal alert on this issue here.

In a March 15 decision, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) disallowed certain tax benefits for master limited partnerships (MLPs), the predominant corporate structure for several energy companies.

Specifically, FERC voted to reverse a policy that allowed interstate natural gas and oil pipelines set up as pass-through companies to collect corporate income-tax expenses from customers. According to previous litigation, critics claimed that this resulted in the double recovery of costs for master limited partnerships.

It is unclear how these companies will adapt to the new ruling. Immediately after FERC’s decision, pipeline stocks plummeted. As master limited partnerships consider their options, the decision may push these entities to convert to corporations.

A copy of the Trump Administration’s six-page draft infrastructure plan has leaked. The document – the authenticity of which has not been confirmed by the White House – opens with a list of funding principles that, among other things, include:

  • encouraging investment by state, local, and private entities;
  • calling for the creation of federal infrastructure funds; and
  • expanding the use of Private Activity Bonds.

Interestingly, the draft plan does not include a gas tax increase, which the administration has considered in the past.

The federal gas tax currently comes in at 18.4 cents per gallon and 24.4 cents per gallon for diesel fuel. It’s been more than two decades since the federal gas tax was raised — 1993 to be exact. Congressional Republicans have long opposed increasing the federal gas tax, while many Democrats are open to doing so to pay for transportation projects. Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Peter DeFazio (D-OR) are some of the most vocal proponents in Congress. Blumenauer has previously introduced measures that would increase the gas tax by as much as 15 cents per gallon.

Despite its absence in the administration’s draft plan, calls for increasing the gas tax will unlikely go away any time soon. Last week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (“U.S. Chamber”) put a spotlight on the issue when it proposed a 25-cent increase as part of its four-part plan for infrastructure investment. Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber, argued that “it’s the simplest, fairest, and most effective way to raise money we need for roads, bridges, and transit.”

The U.S. Chamber has previously called for increasing the gas tax — in 2014, the chamber supported raising the tax to help pay for a highway reauthorization bill. President Donald Trump is reportedly supportive of increasing the gas tax — by as much as 50 cents per gallon according to the Washington Post.

The U.S. Chamber’s 25-cent increase would raise $394 billion — well short of Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan. But the U.S. Chamber said that its plan goes beyond the gas tax, adding that it “will push for an entire toolkit of funding and financing options.”