Road funding: Your piggy bank or mine?

piggy bank

Motorist fees and gas taxes are sources for transportation funding in two state budgets.

Pennsylvania and Washington State are trying to pay for essential projects and in doing so – along with a number of other states – may be showing us something of how MAP-21’s push to give states more authority and flexibility with federal funds may turn out.

As I blogged about earlier, most of the states are aggressively trying to find ways to bring new income to the table to fund transportation infrastructure work.

MAP-21’s hand-off of some powers to the states should mean that state authorities can use their combination of state and federal funds more effectively. How they go about raising those state funds will be some indicator of just how much they need and how bold they are in trying to raise it.

While the devolution of power was widely praised and seems to be the basis for some serious and valuable changes in the way we fund our transportation infrastructure, there is still a question mark.

A lot of insiders on The Hill that I talked to during the lost years – the SAFETEA-LU extension years – saw giving the states more power was simply a way to make the states raise money, leaving federal politicians with relatively clean hands.