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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.
When managers of cargo terminals at 29 West Coast ports closed their facilities to ships last weekend, they opened the door to a new discussion about when the president can invoke powers under labor law to keep the country’s transportation networks running.
West Coast ports opened with a backlog of ships waiting to unload this week, after vessel operations were halted by employers over the weekend.
More than 100 cost-savings proposals, due out from the Heritage Foundation on Thursday, could provide ammunition for conservative lawmakers in coming debates over restructuring entitlement programs, addressing the post-sequester discretionary spending caps, reauthorizing the Highway Trust Fund and raising the debt limit.
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.
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.
Last year, America’s deteriorating roads cost drivers more than $67 billion in repairs and operating costs, or about $324 per driver. Subpar and sometimes dangerous road conditions are quickly becoming a widespread problem throughout the country. Unless action is taken to reinvest in our failing infrastructure, the long-term cost to our economy and taxpayers will be devastating.
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.
Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman James M. Inhofe said Wednesday that the GOP continues to look at a gas tax increase among other alternatives to cover shortfalls in transportation spending, characterizing the mechanism as a "user fee."
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.
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.”
At a time when U.S. airline passengers are experiencing the highest rate of flight delays in more than 20 years, the Federal Aviation Administration is proposing radical changes to its air traffic control management programs that could lead to further flight delays, cancellations and jeopardize aircraft and passenger safety.
Senate talks are underway in hopes of wrapping up a spending measure by Saturday.
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.
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.
Last May, Reuters ran two articles about the White House’s pending decision on the renewable-fuel standard, which federally mandates how much biofuel must be blended into the transportation fuel supply in the United States.
This sign should be plastered all over Washington, D.C., as lawmakers return from summer break. Congress has had the past five weeks to visit their homes and travel on America’s crumbling highway system.
Fighting the last war over again is a bad strategy for future military planning. Using science of the past in crafting technology policies for the future is just as foolish. Yet that’s what’s happening in the debate over refilling the Highway Trust Fund’s depleted financial tank.
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.
Labor Day marks the unofficial beginning of fall with back-to-school season, cooler temperatures and, for some, the long-awaited return of football. The National Football League season kicks off on Sept. 4 in Seattle with a rematch of the infamous 2012 “Fail Mary” game between the Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers. Believe it or not, this game holds a lesson for students of transportation and tax policy — both teams are known for their superstar quarterbacks and rabid fan bases, but there is a significant difference in how they chose to finance their stadiums. Lambeau Field’s renovations were partially funded by a sales tax paid by those who benefit the most from the team and the stadium — the citizens of Green Bay, Wis. CenturyLink Field, on the other hand, was built using money collected from discriminatory taxes on car rentals paid by visitors to Seattle.