Debt Financing

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee this week released and marked-up its bipartisan, six-year transportation bill before moving the bill forward. Now comes the hard part of trying to come up with the money to fund the bill and to tackle the looming shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund. Meanwhile President Obama and Vice President Biden both took to the road this week to put the focus on infrastructure investment. And a chorus of voices grew louder that perhaps the best way to make it happen is the most obvious—increasing the federal gas tax. I also have the usual roundup of news and links on state activity on transportation revenues, public-private partnerships and tolling, and state multi-modal strategies in this special, super-sized, Infrastructure Week edition of the blog.

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chair Barbara Boxer said Thursday her committee plans to introduce and mark up a new surface transportation authorization bill next week. The measure is expected to be a five- or six-year bill that would keep current spending levels, adjusted for inflation. But elsewhere on Capitol Hill this week there were ominous signs that agreement on a way to pay for such a bill has yet to emerge. Meanwhile states continue to be concerned about key transportation projects that could be scuttled if Congress fails to act to shore up the Highway Trust Fund.

New Hampshire’s first gas tax increase in more than 20 years won final approval in the state legislature this week. Meanwhile, the defeat of a ballot measure to increase sales taxes and enact a car tab fee to fund transit service in Seattle’s King County means residents will see cuts in bus service hours just as ridership is on the rise. Plus, just as the Highway Trust Fund gets ready to run dry, there are renewed concerns about the condition of bridges in the United States. I also have the usual updates and links to items on MAP-21 reauthorization and the future of the Highway Trust Fund, state activity on transportation revenues, public-private partnerships and tolling, and state multi-modal strategies. And I have news about a worthwhile conference you’ll want to add to your summer travels.

Leaders of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee announced this week they have agreed in principle on how to proceed with the next federal surface transportation authorization bill, the successor to 2012’s MAP-21. I also have the usual roundup of links on the future of the Highway Trust Fund, state activity on transportation revenues, public-private partnerships and tolling and state multi-modal strategies.

The federal Highway Trust Fund is expected to run out of money even earlier than expected this summer, according to new data released this week. That’s likely to make it even tougher for Congress to come up with a funding solution in time and it has many in Washington and around the country concerned about what would be an unprecedented situation for state transportation programs. I also have the usual collection of links to items on state activity on transportation revenues, public-private partnerships and tolling, and state multi-modal strategies.

Leaders in Washington State say a transportation funding package is dead for this legislative session, putting in jeopardy a number of mega-projects many say the state needs. I also have items this week on the nation’s road spending priorities and a reported uptick in transit ridership. Plus the usual updates on MAP-21 reauthorization, state transportation funding efforts, public-private partnerships, and state multi-modal strategies.

Alaska lawmakers are considering asking voters to create a state infrastructure fund that would help pay for airport, road and other projects around the state. Meanwhile, Connecticut and Kansas are among the states with similar trust funds that are looking to prevent future raids on those funds when times are tight. I also have my usual weekly round-up of items this week on the future of the Highway Trust Fund and MAP-21 reauthorization, state activity on transportation revenues, public-private partnerships, and multi-modal strategies being employed in various states and communities around the country.

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.

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.

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.

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