IN THE NEWS — Articles From Around the Country

Sen. Deb Fischer has a plan to fast-track infrastructure funding – Legislation mixing infrastructure funding with reform to the regulatory processes needed to approve massive highway projects could be part of the solution to the nation’s road improvement needs. – Kyle Feldscher for the Washington Examiner

House begins quest for funding for Trump’s infrastructure plan, but is it ‘same rhetoric’ as always? – The House hearing intended to raise the curtain on President Trump’s call for infrastructure investment was into its third hour Wednesday when the time came for Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.) to speak up. “We’re having the same conversation,” she said. “I keep hearing the same rhetoric without action.” – Ashley Halsey III for The Washington Post – February 1, 2017

U.S. Senate approves Chao to lead Transportation Department – Elaine Chao, a former top U.S. labor official, was sworn in on Tuesday to lead the U.S. Transportation Department, which overseas aviation, vehicle, train and pipeline safety. Chao, a former U.S. labor secretary and deputy transportation secretary, took office hours after the U.S. Senate voted 93 to 6 to confirm her. – David Shepardson for Reuters – January 31, 2017

Gas tax increase posed as a solution to failing roads – Moderately low gas prices and an increasingly dire budget situation in the state has lawmakers eyeing new sources for revenue. Gov. Susana Martinez has adamantly opposed any new or increased taxes, but some lawmakers are looking to grab several more cents from drivers at the gas pump. – Andy Lyman for NM Political Report – January 20, 2017

Pence Talks Up ‘Big’ Project Investment Plan; Poll Shows Resistance to Toll Financing – Incoming Vice President Mike Pence assured mayors that the Trump administration would follow through on campaign promises to launch a “big” infrastructure investment program. – AASHTO Journal – January 20, 2017

Trump team prepares dramatic cuts – Donald Trump is ready to take an ax to government spending. Staffer for the Trump transition team have been meeting with career staff at the White House ahead of Friday’s presidential inauguration to outline their plans for shrinking the federal bureaucracy, The Hill has learned. The changes they propose are dramatic. – Alexander Bolton for The Hill – January 19, 2017

Before funding for transportation overhaul becomes reality, three key questions must be answered – While a special panel named by Gov. John Bel Edwards has called for $700 million a year in tax and fee hikes for work on the state’s roads and bridges, there are three key questions on whether any such plan will become reality. – Will Sentell for The Advocate – January 8, 2017

Wisconsinites split on whether to raise gas tax for transportation fund – Wisconsin residents are almost evenly split on whether the state should increase the gas tax to raise money for the transportation fund, according to a new poll commissioned by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce. – WISN – January 8, 2017

Oregon lawmakers’ multimillion-dollar transportation dream meets reality: how to pay for it? – Weeks before lawmakers return to the Capitol for what’s shaping up as a difficult 2017 session, one of their signature goals is facing serious challenges. – Gordon Friedman for The Oregonian – January 7, 2017

Iowa public employees’ unions oppose bargaining changes – Unions representing Iowa’s public employees are vowing to fight efforts by the Iowa Legislature to rewrite the state’s collective bargaining laws, although they face long odds against winning their battle. – William Petroski for The Des Moines Register – January 5, 2017