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Transportation Hurdles Face Congress in 2015


In the New Year, Congress faces far-reaching policy and spending choices that will put members under both time and political pressure. Will there be enough time to accomplish all that needs to be done, or will decisions be postponed in favor of short-term expedients?

Here are some of the issues that are likely to be contentious in 2015--

The perennial puzzle of how to pay for highways, bridges, and mass transit systems, since the revenues collected from excise taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel are projected to fall short of the money needed. The current surface transportation authorization expires on May 31.

How to pay for airport expansion and upgrades: The airlines and the airports are fighting a protracted battle over whether Congress should raise the $4.50 passenger facility charge to $8.50. Increasing the charge would give airports more capital to invest in expansion and improvements of facilities. The airlines contend that there's no reason to raise airport-related taxes and that airports have "abundant" revenue from other resources.

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