David Harrison

A Trust Fund That Sprang a Leak

The roots of today’s transportation funding dilemma date to the 1990s, when the economy was roaring, deficits were shrinking and gas tax revenue was reliably increasing every year, thanks in part to two gas tax increases during that decade.

Funding Options for the Nation's Infrastructure

Congress has several legislative options to address shortfalls in the Highway Trust Fund, although most of them are politically unacceptable or unlikely.

Highway Funding Still Under Construction

Congress’ efforts to fund highway spending look like a driver trying to extricate a car from the snow. Lawmakers move an idea into first gear, then slip it into reverse, then back to first, hoping the back-and-forth-motion generates enough momentum to get off the slick spot and move some legislation.

Ahead of Highway Bill Deadline, One Republican's Evolution on the Road to Transport Devolution

Supporters of a strong federal role in transportation have what seems like an unlikely ally in their effort to shift the direction of highway spending from Washington to the states.

Infrastructure Bonds Provide Funding Option

Robert Puentes, an infrastructure expert at the Brookings Institution, said federally backed infrastructure bonds could encourage state and local governments to step into the bond market once again.

Tailing Europe, U.S. Is on the Road to New Investment Bonds

The White House’s idea to promote public- private partnerships with a new kind of investment bond could raise billions of dollars for transportation projects with relatively little fiscal effect on the government, but the big infrastructure projects carry big risks for the private sector.

White House's New Bonds Seek to Attract Private Investment

The White House’s effort to promote public-private partnerships for infrastructure is the latest effort to tap the private sector for funds in an era of tight fiscal constraints. The outcome, if successful, could raise billions of dollars for investment in transportation projects with relatively little fiscal effect on the government.

Wisconsin Proposal Will Figure in Presidential Politics

Wisconsin is a particularly significant test case for considering alternatives to the excise tax on fuel, especially considering the proposal that emerged in the days after Gov. Scott Walker won re-election.

State Fees on Hybrid, Electric Cars Suggest Alternative Path for Highway Funding

In his Nov. 14 budget request, Mark Gottlieb, Wisconsin’s secretary of Transportation, suggested assessing a special $50 registration fee on owners of hybrid and electric vehicles “to ensure these owners continue to pay their fair share of the operating costs of our infrastructure.”

Looking for Investment in the Next Generation

Privatization backers of a corporation model such as the one used in Canada would help advance the technological upgrades required under the beleaguered NextGen air traffic control modernization program.

Are Skies Clearing for Rebuilding Air Traffic Control?

The question of whether the government should run the air traffic control system has been hanging over the aviation industry, and Capitol Hill, at least since President Ronald Reagan quashed the 1981 controllers’ strike. Any talk about restructuring or privatizing the operations now under the Federal Aviation Administration has long been blocked by the union representing the controllers, however, arguing that air traffic control is inherently a government function.

Jobs Gains Ease Wage Pressure -- on Congress

The gradually building recovery in the labor market may be one reason for the lack of urgency on Capitol Hill for action on the minimum wage.

Ballot Actions Only Sharpen the Divide on Minimum Wage

The strong support voters showed in the midterm elections for increasing the minimum wage reinforced the idea of broad popular support for raising the wage floor and led Democrats to revive their calls for a higher federal minimum.

Amtrak Looks for Balance Between Serving Northeast Corridor, the Rest of the Country

A traveler wishing to ride the rails in Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor between Washington, D.C., and Boston can choose from dozens of trains per day. Anyone wishing to ride the Sunset Limited from New Orleans to Los Angeles, however, has more limited options: There’s one train on Monday, one on Wednesday and one on Saturday.

Road Closed to Investor Cash for Infrastructure Funding

Pension funds are slowly starting to take a look at investing in infrastructure projects, raising hopes among transportation advocates and lawmakers that the country’s roads and bridges could see an infusion of private cash.

Advocates See Hope in Plan to Raise Federal Gas Tax To Keep Highway Trust Fund Going

Raising the federal gasoline tax has been a goal of many transportation policy and industry analysts, though they sometimes roll their eyes when they talk about it or smile ruefully. One lobbyist describes it as a glowing ember, carefully nurtured for years in the hopes that it could someday spark a change.

GOP Plan to Save Highway Trust Fund May Win By Default

The House Republican plan to prevent, through the middle of next year, the looming insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund is drawing grumbles from both the left and the right, but there is increasing recognition that Congress has little choice but to enact it, or something like it.  

Resignation that passing a short-term extension is likely the only way to avoid an August shutdown of transportation projects across the country was on full display Wednesday, the eve of a markup of the new proposal in the House Ways and Means Committee.  

Uncertain Future for Next Week's Highway Trust Fund Extension Vote

House GOP leadership is prepared to push ahead on legislation to save the Highway Trust Fund from looming insolvency, with a vote expected on the chamber floor next week.  

It all depends, however, on the reception to the new proposal, already being met with some skepticism from key lawmakers and influential outside groups. The House will also have to reconcile its work with that of the Senate , which is taking a different track.  

Conservatives See Highway Trust Fund Fight as Road to State Control of Transportation Spending

Conservative groups and Republican lawmakers want to revive a policy debate over the federal role in transportation policy as Congress gets ready to debate a long-term reauthorization of highway and transit programs.

House GOP Drops Postal Rescue for Highway Fund

House leaders are setting aside a plan to finance a short-term extension of the Highway Trust Fund with cutbacks in U.S. Postal Service operations after a late barrage of opposition from rank-and-file members.