IN THE NEWS — Articles From Around the Country

Why not to bet on a $1 trillion infrastructure deal — President Donald Trump and key Democrats are talking about a possible grand bargain on infrastructure, with each side suggesting they could cooperate on a trillion dollar plan if control of the House flips next month. But basic math and the tortured history of past infrastructure initiatives suggest they are likely to be disappointed once again. — Tanya Snyder for Politico — October 22, 2018

President Calls For 5 Percent Budget Cut From Cabinet Departments As Deficit Increases — President Trump asked for a 5 percent across-the-board budget cut from each federal department during a cabinet meeting on Oct. 17; a budget cut intended to stem the rise of the federal deficit. “I’m going to ask each of you to come back with a 5 percent budget cut from your various departments,” the president said. “Whether it’s a secretary, an administrator, whatever, I’m going to ask everybody with a 5 percent cut for our next meeting. I think you’ll all be able to do it. Get rid of the fat. Get rid of the waste. It will have a huge impact.” — AASHTO Journal — October 19, 2018

Can States Tax Gas Stations on Tribal Lands? — The Yakama Nation and Washington state have been fighting over governance issues ever since the tribe signed its 1855 treaty with the federal government. Recently, those fights have involved fees on cigarettes and rules for logging trucks. But the biggest dispute over the years has been about fuel taxes. And now the U.S. Supreme Court is stepping in. — Daniel C. Vock for Governing — August 2018

Senate Passes THUD Bill As Part Of Minibus Funding Package — The U.S. Senate voted to approve a more than $154 billion “minibus” funding bill – H.R. 6147 – on Aug. 1 by a vote of 92 to 6; a bill that wrapped together four separate spending bills into a single package, including the fiscal year 2019 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development or THUD bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee back on June 7 with only a few minor changes. — AASHTO Journal — August 3, 2018

Koch Brothers-Linked Group Declares New War on Unions — Following a U.S. Supreme Court decision that millions of public sector workers can stop paying union fees, a group tied to Republican billionaires long opposed to organized labor and its support of the Democratic Party has pledged to build on the landmark ruling to further marginalize employee representation. — Josh Eidelson for Bloomberg — June 27, 2018

Texas cities want millennials living downtown. So why does the state keep building highways to the suburbs? — As the neighborhoods in and around downtown Dallas redeveloped in recent decades, they became hotbeds for millennials who, more than their parents did, rely on everything from walking and shared bikes to light-rail trains and ride-hailing apps to get around. — Brandon Formby for The Texas Tribune — June 26, 2018

Engineers Give Kansas A ‘C’ For Infrastructure, But Roads Barely Pass — Kansas received a passing grade for its highways earlier this week when the state’s chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers released its latest “infrastructure report card.” However, the engineers also warned that sweeping cuts to Kansas Department of Transportation funding are still causing roadways to suffer. — Sophia Tulp for KMUW — June 25, 2018

Gas tax repeal will go before California voters in November — California voters will decide this fall whether to overturn a recent increase to state gasoline and diesel taxes that has raised billions of dollars for road repairs and other transportation projects.  Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced that an initiative to repeal the tax hikes, as well as new vehicle registration fees, has qualified for the November ballot. — Alexei Koseff The Sacramento Beefor  — June 25, 2018

Transportation advocates to regroup after amendment failure — Local transportation advocates are disappointed the Minnesota Legislature didn’t sign off on a constitutional amendment to dedicate auto parts sales and repair taxes toward fixing roads and bridges. The amendment would have meant about $250 million in auto-parts sales taxes would be set aside for transportation projects each year. Advocates argued the approach would mean just as much funding as a 9-cent gas tax increase. — Trey Mewes for The Free Press — June 3, 2018

Over Half of Highway Contractors Experience Work Zone Crashes, AGC Survey Finds — A national surveywork zone crashes — A  of 550 highway contractors conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America found that 54 percent of them said motor vehicles crashed into their construction work zones during the past year. On top of that, 48 percent of contractors who experienced  reported injuries to either motor vehicle operators or passengers, while 24 percent of those crashes involved a driver or passenger fatality. — AASHTO Journal — June 1, 2018