The chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee said this week that Congress is running out of time to act to avert insolvency for the federal Highway Trust Fund as state transportation officials and leaders of state chambers of commerce warned of the consequences if that were to come to pass. But there still appears to be no agreement in sight about how to fund a trust fund fix and a long-term surface transportation bill. I also have the usual roundup of news items and resources on MAP-21 reauthorization, state transportation funding activities, 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.

President Obama this week proposed a four-year, $302 billion transportation bill that he said could be partially funded through a corporate tax overhaul, a plan Congressional leaders have already said is unlikely to gain traction this year. He also joined a chorus of voices warning that hundreds of road and bridge projects around the country could be stopped in their tracks if Congress fails to renew the Highway Trust Fund. Meanwhile, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp offered up his own plan to rework the tax code this week, which he believes could yield $126.5 billion to fund infrastructure investment. I also have updates this week on state transportation revenue activities, public-private partnerships and multi-modal strategies.

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.

While 2013 has been a big year for states considering and approving new transportation revenues, there are signs that a number of states are still struggling to figure out how to pay for maintaining their infrastructure. There’s a plan in Texas to convert some drilling-affected roads to gravel. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania has started posting weight restrictions on some of its bridges. I also have a number of other recent items below to catch you up on the last couple of weeks and provide plenty of reading material through the long holiday weekend.

The final morning of CSG’s Transportation Policy Academy in Portland, Oregon featured a transportation policy roundtable, which included a presentation on the American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure. Greg DiLoreto is the 2013 President of ASCE and since 1999 has served as General Manager and CEO for the second largest water utility in Oregon, the Tualatin Valley Water District, which serves over 200,000 in the west Portland metro area. He told policy academy attendees the infrastructure grades in the new report card aren’t acceptable and America is paying a heavy price.

Efforts by states and communities to move forward with infrastructure investment were among the reasons some areas of transportation saw improvement in recent years, according to a new report from the American Society of Civil Engineers that provides a treasure trove of information for state officials about exactly what the nation faces.

While 2012 saw Congress finally take action on a federal surface transportation authorization bill, much of the action in 2013 could shift to state capitals and set the stage for what’s likely to be a pivotal 2014. Here’s my list of the top 5 issues in transportation for 2013 and some additional resources where you can read more.

Transportation has been a mostly neglected issue on the presidential campaign trail this year. That has left media organizations and political and transportation analysts to try to fill the void in differentiating where President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney stand on transportation issues and what the election of one or the other might mean for state governments. With a week to go before the nation chooses a chief executive who may determine the future of transportation for decades to come, here’s a reading guide on the candidates.

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