As a New Congress Sets Up Shop, Questions About the Future of Transportation Funding

» With split power in Congress and a compromised executive, moving forward on transportation will be a delicate project, to say the least.

After the 2010 elections, the future of transportation funding in the United States has been subject to yet another round of questioning. Two years of Democratic control over the White House and Congress led to little serious agreement about how to find federal funding for highways and transit; meanwhile, despite advances in the fields of livable neighborhoods and high-speed rail, those programs may be subjected to considerable rethinking or even elimination after the change in power in the U.S. House.

Whatever the current hysteria over the size of the annual federal deficit and government debt in general, the demand by states and localities for financial aid for the construction and maintenance of transportation projects is unlikely to subside. Repeated warning by groups like the American Society of Civil Engineers about the failure of our public infrastructure today and into the future are not imaginary. Thus at some point, there will have to be some agreement about how to move forward on collecting revenues and allocating grants for the purpose of relieving those difficulties.