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Although reauthorizations of both the surface transportation and aviation bills were enacted in this Congress, many questions remain for a re-elected Obama administration and the new congress to address. Certainly, the levels of federal funding for investment in transportation infrastructure will be affected by broader considerations of the nation’s fiscal circumstances, including persistent annual budget deficits and possible consideration of comprehensive tax reform. This panel of transportation experts and stakeholders examined pressing questions in that context:
Are there likely to be increases in user-based transportation revenues, including the federal gasoline tax, and how will the administration and Congress deal with the continued viability of the Highway and Aviation Trust Funds? From where will the money come to invest in infrastructure, including addressing the protection of vulnerable coastal and inland areas from the likelihood of future, and potentially catastrophic, floods and storm surges? Will infrastructure investment be part of any ‘grand bargain’ over deficit and debt reduction? And how might the results of the 2012 presidential and congressional elections influence legislative and administrative actions both in the current ‘lame duck’ session and in the next two years?
In an effort to move the conversation forward, BPC convened an expert group to explore how Congress might go about defining the federal role and core national transportation interests. This paper summarizes the work and findings of that group. Read the paper here.