Transportation funding solution still elusive during infrastructure forum

Updated Mar 27, 2015

The need for updating and maintaining U.S. infrastructure work is a clear, agreed-upon issue, but the means of providing funds is still divisive, as evidenced by a recent infrastructure forum put on by the National Journal.

During that forum last week, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) discussed the need for continuous funding, but did not address how the Obama Administration and the Republican majority could break the methodology impasse.

Foxx touts the plan for tax reform, including repatriation of domestic companies’ foreign profits, as a means for funding transportation projects. Shuster says that’s not a “possible” solution. Many are calling for an increase in the gas tax—which hasn’t increased in more than two decades—but such an increase is quickly drifting to the wayside as a solution.

However, both made it clear that both sides are committed to coming up with a solution.

“I feel confident that we will do a long-term bill, a five- or six-year bill,” Shuster said during the forum, “because both sides of the aisle, both sides of the Capitol, both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, everybody’s talking about a long-term bill.”

In a blog post after the forum, Foxx also expressed optimism that a solution was forthcoming.

“The one bright spot is that folks like Chairman Shuster aren’t just aware of this problem; they’re committed to solving it,” Foxx said. “Not just with regard to surface transportation, but with regard to rail and to aviation reauthorization. And I very much look forward to working with him on all of those issues.”