Yglesias refers to an August 1 Politico article report that "speculates that the scheduled September 30 sunset of the federal gasoline tax could be the next political controversy to spark a brawl in an ever more deeply divided Capitol Hill." Yglesias notes that "the gas tax, in addition to serving important environmental goals, is the means by which the federal government finances investments in transportation infrastructure."
A key issue may very well be how far the majority of Republicans will take their 'no new taxes' pledge devised by Grover Norquist.
"In general, Americans for Tax Reform has always supported the idea of ending the federal tax on gas and having states pay for their own roads," Grover Norquist told Politico, but he declined to say whether he or his group plans to pressure congressional Republicans to let the excise tax expire.
"ATR would love to help begin such a dialogue," he said.
In any case, reauthorizing the transportation bill based on projected funding of the current 18.4 cent gas tax, unchanged since President Clinton raised it 4.3 cents 18 years ago and the basis of the House Transportation Chair John Mica's six-year, $230 billion surface-transportation (pdf), would seem like a safe fallback.
Thanks to John Hartz