The proposed amendment would delete a "mobile machinery exception" that currently excludes heavy mobile equipment, such as cranes and aerial devices, from excise and fuel taxes under the Highway Trust Fund. Officials of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, one of several associations involved in the debate, believe the IRS proposal would cost the roadbuilding segment of the industry more than $400 million annually.

Two weeks before it received a strong response from the industry, including more than 25 oral comments from individuals and associations, the Dept. of the Treasury on Feb. 12 stated that "it would be appropriate to delay the proposed rules until Congress has had an opportunity to provide guidance."

he Internal Revenue Service will present to Congress the controversial excise tax amendment for jobsite equipment published last June in the Federal Register (ENR 8/19/02 p. 9), to be discussed along with highway fund reauthorization in September, say IRS officials.