Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 1, 2014

Posts in "Highway Trust Fund"

October 20, 2014

With Gasoline Under $3 A Gallon, Drivers Are Thriving

146224083 1 445x304 With Gasoline Under $3 A Gallon, Drivers Are Thriving

American drivers are enjoying an autumn windfall of lower gasoline prices (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Sometimes the bit of data that makes transportation news is staring you right in the face. So it was this weekend when I drove from Washington, D.C., to Princeton, N.J., and back.

I was driving a rental car and normally don’t pay too much attention to the price of gasoline.

Full story

October 17, 2014

The Container’s Friday Q&A: ARTBA’s Peter Ruane, Part Two

Ruane 01 041508 259x335 The Containers Friday Q&A: ARTBAs Peter Ruane, Part Two

Peter Ruane, president of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Here is the second part of our interview with Peter Ruane, president of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association.

In Minnesota, Gov. Mark Dayton is talking about a new sales tax on gasoline, in addition to the state’s 28.6 cents per gallon tax on gasoline. I think Virginia made a similar move last year.

What do you make of states trying to make some revenue changes on their own to pay for transportation projects?

We had seven states do this last year, on their own, either passed a state gasoline tax increase or some form of that, a sales tax, some creative ways to bring recurring revenue. That the key word: recurring.

If Minnesota goes in that direction, I think that’s outstanding. Some of that is a reflection of their lack of faith that the feds are going to do their job and come up with a solution to the [shortfall in] the Highway Trust Fund.

 

There’s a lot of talk now about vehicle-to-vehicle communications and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications.

For example, if you had a vehicle-to-infrastructure system, it could relay information about traffic patterns and potholes back to the transportation authority.

But Bob Poole at the Reason Foundation has said that if you’re talking about embedding information technology in highways, bridges, overpasses, etc., it’s an immensely expensive idea.

It is very topical and there’s an awful lot out there. All the big auto companies have put out a lot of information on this lately and have made commitments that they’re going to accelerate their research.

We welcome it. Those kind of improvements are going to lead to gains in the safety area: we will see fewer accidents and fewer lives lost.

But there was an article in the Wall Street Journal recently and the headline was “The Internet of Asphalt Will Take a Long Time to Pave.”

We are all in favor of ITS [intelligent transportation systems], but don’t use it as a red herring. Don’t let these sexy technological solutions distract us from the immediate thing in front of us. Let’s deal with the Trust Fund, deal with the urgent situation we have right now.

The Container’s Friday Q&A: ARTBA’s Peter Ruane, Part One

3064307 445x299 The Containers Friday Q&A: ARTBAs Peter Ruane, Part One

Congress is facing the need to come up with new revenue sources for highway funding. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

Peter Ruane, president of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, is one of Washington’s most forceful advocates for infrastructure spending.

We discussed with him whether Congress can devise a long-term solution to the nation’s infrastructure funding dilemma. Full story

October 9, 2014

Minnesota Governor Wants New Tax For Infrastructure

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Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, is running for a second term (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

In a debate Wednesday night, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, proposed a wholesale state sales tax on gasoline to raise revenue to pay for transportation infrastructure. He said the tax would raise close to the $6.5 billion the state needs for infrastructure projects over the next 10 years.

The state already has a 28.6 cents per gallon tax on gasoline.

Full story

October 2, 2014

The Container Interviews Foxx On Transportation Funding, Part Two

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Secretary Foxx with President Obama at an event in July (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Here is the second part of our interview Tuesday with Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

Do you get any sign from Congress that the Grow America Act or some surface transportation bill could be taken up in the lame-duck session?

We’re starting to see members introducing components of the Grow America Act. We have some activity along those lines on the House side and some even on the Senate side…. That’s encouraging. Frankly, it’s encouraging to hear members on a bipartisan basis express a desire to get something done.

Full story

October 1, 2014

The Container Interviews Foxx on Paying for Transportation, Part One

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Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has been traveling across the country to announce grants for state and local projects and to make the case for the Obama administration’s transportation bill, the Grow America Act.

We had an exclusive interview with Foxx on Tuesday. He spoke with us from Los Angeles where he was taking part in the groundbreaking of the Los Angeles Regional Connector, a light rail transit project connecting three existing lines.

Full story

September 23, 2014

Manufacturers Say Bigger Infrastructure Investment Would Boost Incomes

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The giant drill nicknamed “Harriet” bores a section of the Port of Miami tunnel last year. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The National Association of Manufacturers renewed its call Tuesday for more infrastructure spending, issuing a report saying that “infrastructure spending has been on a decade-long decline” and that “when measured in proportion to GDP, the downward trajectory of infrastructure investment becomes even more stark and worrisome.”

Full story

September 22, 2014

Vehicle Miles Driven Continues To Bounce Back

JulyVMT Vehicle Miles Driven Continues To Bounce Back The number of miles Americans traveled on the nation’s highways and roads increased in July by 1.5 percent, compared to last July, according to the Traffic Volume Trends monthly report issued by the Federal Highway Administration.

But July’s total miles driven, estimated to be 266.8 billion vehicle miles, still falls short of the miles driven in July of 2007.

Full story

August 6, 2014

Missouri Voters Reject Tax Increase to Pay for Transportation Projects

Missouri voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected an increase in the state’s sales tax to pay for highways, roads, and bridges.

The proposed amendment to the state constitution was defeated 59 percent to 41 percent – even though it included elements designed to make it more palatable to voters: it would have explicitly banned tolling on state highways and would have prevented an increase in the state’s tax on gasoline and other motor fuels.

The constitutional amendment would have been a three-quarters of one percent increase to the state’s 4.225 percent sales tax.

Full story

August 1, 2014

Lame-Duck Transportation Bargaining Scenario Fades

On Thursday night the Senate passed by a vote of 81-13 the House bill to keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent until next spring. Score it as a win for beleaguered House Republican leaders who were coping with a fiasco after they couldn’t find the votes to pass their version of an emergency spending bill to respond to the southern border crisis.

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July 30, 2014

On Two Transportation Fronts, a Republican Pushback on Executive Power

A familiar Republican argument — that President Barack Obama’s appointees are using executive branch power to hurt states and businesses — was heard almost simultaneously late Tuesday afternoon on the Senate floor and across the street from the Capitol at a hearing in the Russell Senate Office building from two GOP senators on two different topics, both involving transportation.

Full story

July 28, 2014

Week’s Transportation Highlight Will Be Senate Passage of Highway Funding Bill

Months of hand-wringing, anguished warnings, and legislative maneuvering culminate in the next five days, as the Senate prepares to pass a bill to refill the Highway Trust Fund and avert what Democratic leaders were calling “the transportation equivalent of a government shutdown.”

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July 25, 2014

Toomey Would Skip Most Environmental Reviews in Post-Disaster Rebuilding

When the Senate takes up a bill next week to refill the Highway Trust Fund, it will get a chance to debate an amendment offered by Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey that would speed up construction of transportation infrastructure after natural disasters.

Full story

July 22, 2014

LUST Trust Fund is Useful Piggy Bank for Congress to Tap for Highway Funding

When you’re in a pinch, it’s comforting to have an extra $1 billion or $3 billion sitting on the shelf. That’s essentially what the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund is when Congress needs money to help refill the Highway Trust Fund.

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July 21, 2014

Foxx Touts Bicycle Commuting and Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communications

In a wide-ranging appearance Monday at the National Press Club, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said he’d figured out how to bicycle to his office, and he touted vehicle-to-vehicle communications for cars as a technology that will reduce accidents in the future.

But Foxx avoided substantive comment on two of the most pressing current issues: the downing of a Malaysia Airlines flight over eastern Ukraine last week, and a pending rule from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration on rail shipment of volatile Bakken crude from North Dakota.

Full story

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