Transportation Funding Showdown

Posted on September 6, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

By Scott Orr

Just when Washington watchers have moved on from the painful stalemate over the debt ceiling, another showdown is looming, one that threatens billions in federal transportation aid.

If you’re in state or local government, or a contractor in the transportation sector, you need to keep a close eye on the coming debate. Getting inside the debate with the help of Turner GPA’s experienced team of government and public affairs specialists could pave the way to political and business success.

At stake, as Congress returns from August recess, is the fate of billions of dollars in funding for highway and transit construction projects across the country and the thousands of jobs that money supports.

The federal government’s authority to collect 18.4 cents a gallon in federal gasoline taxes, and the power to spend that money, both expire on Sept. 30, which doesn’t give Congress much time. And as it begins debate, both parties remain painfully aware of the black eyes they received for wasting $350 million during a deadlock over Federal Aviation Administration funding this summer.

What has state officials, and by extension the contractors they hire, worried is the fact that neither the House nor the Senate has acted on a long-term surface transportation bill.

The House is considering a six-year plan worth around $35 billion a year, while the Senate is discussing a two-year plan that would total about $109 billion. But these long-term packages haven’t even been written yet, let alone debated.

That means Congress will need a stop-gap measure this monthto prevent a stalemate that would bring construction on transportation projects screeching to a halt.

And while these kinds of extensions have been routine in the past, recent history has shown that this Congress is not one to pursue the simple path. A must-pass bill that contains transportation programs funded by taxes could prove a very tempting target for tea party zealots looking to again demonstrate their displeasure for federal spending. Our prediction is for another wreckless political high wire show, so be prepared.

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One Response to “Transportation Funding Showdown”

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Well, the Tea Party like the rest us ride vehicles over highways and bridges that need maintenance and repair, I think the public will soon grow weary of the Tea Party, there is no point to denying that we must spend, and we choose to spend on ourselves, our infrastructure–and at the end of the day, zero corporate taxes is the goal of the Tea Party, government by corporate interests. The Tea Party may only be a tool of some right wing billionaire’s fantasy, in the real world we want jobs and safe roads.

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