IN THE NEWS — Articles From Around the Country

Senate passes gas tax for road fund, but governor vows veto – The New Mexico Senate, hoping to improve state roads and rebuild cash reserves, approved a bill Thursday that would increase the state gasoline tax for the first time in more than 20 years. But the bill has little chance of becoming law. – Bruce Krasnow for The Santa Fe New Mexican – March 2, 2017

Scott Walker: State should find transportation savings in changing road use trends – Transportation officials should not only look for more efficient ways to complete roads projects, but also look at road use trends to modify future plans, Gov. Scott Walker said Wednesday. “We want to make sure that we’re using every dollar wisely,” Walker told reporters after speaking at a Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce event in Madison. –  Jessie Opoien for The Capital Times – March 2, 2017

Gov. Doug Ducey sends roads wish list to Trump administration, vows no gas-tax hike – Unwilling to consider a gas-tax increase, Gov. Doug Ducey is now counting on the Trump administration to help Arizona deal with its road construction needs. Or at least a small percentage of them. – Howard Fischer for Arizona Daily Star – March 2, 2017

White House Says It Will Kick Off Infrastructure Planning Thursday – President Donald Trump’s administration will convene a meeting of at least 15 federal agencies Thursday as a first government-wide step toward crafting the president’s $1 trillion infrastructure initiative, a senior White House official said. – Mark Niquette for Bloomberg

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