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This Week in Infrastructure: Funding Conversations Get a Front Seat

February 28, 2014

Over the past few weeks, stories have been trickling out about the financial cliff the Highway Trust Fund is heading toward, with too few conversations about finding solutions, given the importance of the topic.

This week that shifted. President Obama called attention to the Highway Trust Fund and the need for investment during a trip to Minnesota, by proposing a $302 billion transportation plan. During his speech, he stressed the link between transportation infrastructure and job creation. Furthermore, Rep. Dave Camp also announced his plan for a corporate tax overhaul, which would dedicate $162.5 billion to the Highway Trust Fund over the next eight years. ASCE and several other infrastructure advocates are encouraged by both proposals, and look forward to being part of the discussion. Rep. Bill Shuster, chair of the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, was also “encouraged” by both plans.

As states, including Alabama, Rhode Island and North Dakota, continue to plan for a lack of federal dollars, it is essential to find a sustainable funding solution.

Meanwhile in Wisconsin, a bipartisan group in the state legislature began exploring the idea of toll roads.

The Washington Post celebrated the other well-known form of funding’s 95th birthday with “A (Very) Brief History of the State Gas Tax.” And in a similar spirit, the National Journal wrote about how Oregon, the state which originated the gas tax, now may be the one to find its replacement.

Discussions on funding are beginning to take center stage, an indication of progress in the quest to fund the Highway Trust Fund.

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