The benefits of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to the nation’s infrastructure were touted this week as the 2009 federal stimulus package turned five years old. Meanwhile policymakers and analysts continued to express concern about future federal and state infrastructure investment both in Washington and state capitals.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee this week heard testimony from a variety of transportation stakeholders, many of whom said they would like to see an increase in the federal gas tax to fund transportation. Meanwhile, despite evidence that 2014 may not be as big a year for state transportation funding as 2013 was, a handful of states moved forward this week with efforts to seek new revenues. I also have this month’s roundup of updates and links to my Top 5 Issues for 2014.

With the federal Highway Trust Fund and the next surface transportation bill hanging in the balance, a number of national policymakers, stakeholders and analysts are beginning to weigh in with their preferences for what should happen in the months ahead. Here’s a roundup of some recent pronouncements on the subject as well as some other related resources.

The nation’s infrastructure factored into President Obama’s State of the Union address this week and there was plenty of reaction and analysis from a variety of transportation interests about what was said and what was left unsaid. Here’s a roundup.

Hopefully many of you have had a chance to dive into my recent post on the Top 5 Issues for 2014 in Transportation. It’s part of a series across all our policy areas here at CSG that has become a popular annual feature. The expanded version of the transportation list (which I have newly updated this week) includes extensive links to related articles and resources from throughout 2013. Now with nearly a month of 2014 under our belts, I thought it would be a good time to take a look at those Top 5 issues through the prism of the New Year and the transportation stories it has generated so far. I have updates on MAP-21 reauthorization and the future of the Highway Trust Fund, the legacy of MAP-21, continuing state activity on transportation revenues, the evolution of public-private partnerships and states and communities working on finding solutions for a multi-modal transportation future.

As lawmakers in many states go back to work this month, one of the key issues they’re likely to face is how to meet transportation needs going forward. While some states appear poised to follow in the footsteps of the states that passed significant transportation revenue packages in 2013 (Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia and Wyoming among them), electoral politics appear likely to play a much more significant role in the solutions they may opt for in 2014. Below are a few updates on some of the states highlighted in my post last month on the “States to Watch for 2014: Transportation Funding.” I also have details about an upcoming CSG webinar on the topic, links to recent articles about what may happen in Washington this year, news about some CSG-connected transportation folks moving on to greener pastures and a look at my dance card for next week’s annual Transportation Research Board confab in the Nation’s Capital.

CSG's Program Manager for Transportation Policy Sean Slone outlines the top five issues for 2014, including the upcoming transportation reauthorization bill, the future of the Highway Trust Fund and alternative revenue options, the evolution of public-private partnerships, and the effect of an expanded Panama Canal on the nation's port system.  

State capitals were where the action was in 2013, with six states approving significant revenue packages and a number of others setting in motion plans for 2014, when the activity is expected to continue around the country. Some of the attention now shifts back to Washington as Congress must again consider legislation to authorize federal transportation programs and decide what to do about the dwindling Highway Trust Fund and as the legacy of the 2012 legislation, known as MAP-21, is cemented. Meanwhile public-private partnerships, which have helped some states fund pricey transportation projects and weather fiscal uncertainty in recent years, will likely continue to evolve in the year ahead. All this as officials at all levels of government and other stakeholders continue to seek approaches to ensure the vision of a multi-modal future for communities and commerce is realized. Here’s my expanded article on the top 5 issues in transportation for 2014 and a wide variety of additional CSG and non-CSG resources where you can read more.

A rare bit of bipartisanship on a water resources bill that sailed through both the Senate and the House recently is giving some in Washington, D.C., hope that Congress could reach agreement on a new surface transportation authorization bill--and perhaps funding to pay for it--before the current one expires next fall.

The CSG Transportation Policy Academy in Washington, DC wrapped up with attendees visiting the U.S. Department of Transportation. DOT officials including Under Secretary for Policy Polly Trottenberg fielded questions from state legislators on such topics as the federal ban on interstate tolling, state transportation funding initiatives and the prospects for MAP-21 reauthorization next year.