Senate to Consider Giving States More Control on U.S. Highways

The U.S. Senate will consider giving states more control over spending of federal gasoline-tax revenue for transportation projects when debate on highway-funding legislation resumes next week.

The Senate is scheduled to vote on a proposal by Senator Jim DeMint, a South Carolina Republican, to grant most of the money raised by federal gas taxes to the states after they return to the issue March 13. It's the first transportation- related provision that senators deal with as they work through 30 amendments to a two-year, $109 billion transportation plan.

DeMint’s states-rights plan would so reduce U.S. highway funding that it would be tough to refer any longer to a federal system, said Jeff Shoaf, senior executive director of government and public affairs at the Associated General Contractors, a construction trade group in Arlington, Virginia.

“This would take the plant out and rip it out with the weeds,” said Shoaf. “The disruption you would have from doing this would really make it seem like Congress doesn’t know what it is doing.”

To read more, including a look at the House's plan and where the vehicle-fuel tax stands, click here.