Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden said this week his panel is hard at work considering options for saving the Highway Trust Fund from pending insolvency and he hopes to pass a bill out of the committee before the Senate adjourns for its July 4 recess. But the Senate is unlikely to consider a House Republican plan that would rely on savings from changes at the U.S. Postal Service, which continued to receive skepticism this week. And the closing of a bridge along a major artery in Delaware this week demonstrates what’s at stake in trying to find ways to invest in the nation’s infrastructure. I also have the usual round-up of 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. 

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 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.

Day two of the CSG Transportation Policy Academy in Washington, D.C. included a transportation policy roundtable featuring a variety of transportation stakeholders and experts. Among them was Brian Pallasch, Managing Director for Government Relations and Infrastructure Initiatives at the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). He spoke about ASCE’s 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure.

The passage of MAP-21, the federal surface transportation authorization bill, in 2012 brought with it a host of policy changes but little in the way of long-term funding security for states trying to meet their growing infrastructure needs. Perhaps partially in reaction, an unprecedented number of states—including Missouri—explored new transportation revenue options in 2013. Meanwhile, bridge collapses earlier this year in Washington state and Missouri once again brought into sharp focus what’s at stake in finding new funding to fix old facilities. This session explored how Missouri is hoping to shape its transportation future, how a new emphasis on performance measurement under MAP-21 will impact states and how the state of the nation’s aging infrastructure makes it a critical time for transportation policy.

I have a new Capitol Research brief out this week looking at the “Changing Face of Transportation Revenues.” In it, I talk with university research professors and other transportation experts about the strategies states have pursued this year to fund transportation investment. In honor of the report’s release, I thought I’d pass along a few updates on what’s happening in a few other states. I also have updates below on tolling, public private partnerships, infrastructure conditions and performance measurement.

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.

America’s deteriorating infrastructure has been an ongoing concern for many years. The May 2013 collapse of a bridge in Washington was the latest event to peak the interests of the public and policymakers about the state, safety and financing of bridges and roads in the U.S.

A coalition of rural conservative and urban liberal Senators was credited with making possible this week’s 45 to 5 vote in favor of a $2.5 billion transportation bill in Pennsylvania that supporters say would protect the safety of motorists and provide a much needed economic boost in the Keystone State. I also have some bonus updates for the week on some of the topics covered in my previous post from earlier this week including public-private partnerships and the condition of the nation’s bridges.

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