"Even in a Congress that’s not sure it can keep the government running two weeks from now, supporters are already hard at work on the transportation bill that comes due in October 2014," writes Kathryn A. Wolfe. Yet looming over the ad buying, polling, grass-roots letter-writing, and lobbying visits already under way is the Highway Trust Fund’s "worsening structural deficit."
"[New House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.)] still seems to be singing the 'all of the above' gospel when it comes to potential funding solutions for the next bill," notes Wolfe, "but he has struck a more pessimistic tone when it comes to discussions about two things: raising the gas tax and widespread tolling of existing interstates."
"Regardless of what’s done about the revenue question, pushing the next transportation bill across the finish line could be a much more difficult hurdle than it was for the last bill, known as MAP-21," she adds. "That’s largely because of the sheer amount of streamlining and program consolidation that bill contained."