Nov 13, 2014
Has the stupor worn off yet? Election Day was last Tuesday, and we'll be living with the results for years. But Beth Osborne, a former Hill staffer and U.S. DOT official now at Transportation for America, says the changes on the Hill are no big deal: Nothing was getting done anyway.
So Beth, Jeff, and I examine the prospects for a new transportation bill. One is due in May, and it's a Republican House and a Republican Senate that will preside over it. Will lawmakers raise the specter of devolution of transportation funding to the states? Will they suggest that the Highway Trust Fund should just be used for highways? Of course they will! But the conversation won't end there.
Even the short-term extensions aren't as easy as they used to be, and that could make the politics of a long-term bill a little easier to manage. Some people blame the end of earmarks for the difficulty passing a bill, but Beth makes the point that you can't very well turn a transportation bill into a Christmas tree for every member of Congress when there's absolutely no money.
We don't have a crystal ball, but here's everything you need to know to make an educated guess about how the next six months will play out -- this, and our coverage of the ballot initiatives, governors' races, Senate leadership shakeup, and the new top transportation Democrat in the House.