Some hope seen for highway funding in next Congress

Some hope seen for highway funding in next Congress

Some members of Congress on both sides of the aisle see hope that 2015 will be the year that Congress finally passes a transportation bill not just the short-term funding patch that has been used for the past several years.

–As you think about building a healthy economy, we have a long list of important infrastructure needs in this country, and that is a priority,” House Republican Conference Chairwoman Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) said on MSNBCês Morning Joe.

And Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) told Transport Topics heês hopeful that Congress will pass a long-term plan before the current bill expires in May. –If you adopt another temporary patch, youêre having a huge detrimental impact on larger projects that states might be planning that require multiple yearsê expenditures,” DeFazio said.

One problem is that it has been many years since the receipts from the Highway Trust Fund funded in large part by the gas tax have been enough to pay for the nationês expanded transportation needs. With Americans driving less and driving more fuel-efficient vehicles, gas tax receipts are dropping. Very few in Congress will even suggest raising any taxes.

Of course, if sales of trucks and SUVs continue to rise as they have recently in response to low gas prices, gas tax receipts could also increase. But they likely would still not be enough to deal with our immediate and serious infrastructure needs.

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