Extending and increasing the gas tax should be part of the discussions of a fiscal grand bargain
This post was originally published on National Journal's Transportation Experts Blog. You can read the full forum here.
Background and Question
Cliff metaphors abound these days, thanks to our members of Congress. In my travels, I've run across the deportation cliff, the human cliff, and yes, the transportation cliff. (Thank you, Rep. John Mica, R-Fla.). To be clear, there are two cliffs in the transportation world. There is the "fiscal cliff," which would result in an overall cut of about 8 percent in federal funds. That impact on transportation isn't clear, although it would certainly be a blow. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association says that could result in a furlough of 2,000 to 2,200 air traffic controllers, which could ultimately result in fewer flights.
Then there is the approaching 2014 sunset of the surface transportation law, which seems far away but is still of concern for state transportation officials trying to plan out their budgets for major projects. Don't expect action on that one anytime soon, although lawmakers say they're ready to get going next year.