After passing short-term extensions of federal transportation programs, Congress is trying to agree on a long-term reauthorization. The Senate is working on a two-year bill, while the House has released a five-year bill. Both bills will require significantly more revenue than available to fund the Department of Transportation because they set levels significantly above the House-passed budget, which would have kept spending in line with revenues. The House will use new oil and natural gas revenues to fund part of the increased levels of transportation spending.
Many conservatives remain concerned that neither the House nor the Senate will pursue reforms that empower the states – such as a state opt-out or full devolution – and they will continue to spend more money than what is provided for by the federal gas tax.