BNSF Railway Chairman and CEO Matt Rose believes the best way to get U.S. companies investing and hiring again would be to allow corporations to bring foreign profits back into the country at discounted tax rates.
“At the end of the day, tax policy is going to rule the investment and the hiring," Rose said in an interview in Fort Worth, Texas. “If you want to know what would be the best stimulus for the government...repatriate $1.3 trillion — that would be a huge deal."
Business advocates argue such a tax policy encourage companies to spend money earned in other countries within U.S. borders, rather than keeping funds tied up overseas.
Rose, whose railroad is the largest U.S. rail carrier by volume, said he is seeing a steady slide in volume this year across his company's network.
Rose spoke after joining other business leaders on a White House jobs panel last week calling for increased federal transportation spending and infrastructure investment as a path to promoting job creation.
With an impasse in Washington over transportation spending and taxes, the government will need to provide additional leverage for every dollar of investment, Rose said. He supports an infrastructure bank being pushed by the Obama administration and wants increased funding for federal transportation loan guarantee programs.
“Nobody is going to agree to a tax increase, it's just not there, and we need to desperately,” Rose said during the panel on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
Speaking following the panel, Rose said the current method of collecting revenue for the Highway Trust Fund must be changed to increase revenue while keeping some sort of user-fee system in place.
"The overall amount of money going into the fund has got to be increased, otherwise with inflation and everything else, ton miles and everything else, there's not enough money to do the types of rebuilding projects that need to happen,” he said.