LEADING THE WEEK — Paying for a trust fund patch: All eyes this week will be on Senate and House lawmakers and how they’ll address the Highway Trust Fund as it tumbles toward bankruptcy — there are 25 days until DOT will have to start slowing down its reimbursement checks to states for highway projects. The Finance Committee is set to meet in another push for a bipartisan consensus after Chairman Ron Wyden decided to scrap his original draft that drew unanimous Republican opposition several weeks ago. A bump for the heavy truck tax, for example, is out of the bill before it’s even been formally marked up. The committee should meet again this week if Wyden and ranking member Orrin Hatch have made enough progress over the recess. Over in the House, Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp could roll out a proposal this week after talking with Hatch about the Republican’s strategy and acceptable pay-fors. And lobbying and advocacy groups will be sure to ramp up the pressure as the days until an insolvent truck fund continue to tick by.
Dire States in the Lone Star State: The Dire States infrastructure initiative, including author Dan McNichol and his rusty 1949 Hudson, heads to Texas this week to rally support for a fall ballot initiative — Proposition 1 — that could raise $1.4 billion a year by shifting half of the money from oil and gas production fees from the state’s rainy day fund to transportation projects.
HIGHWAY FUND OP-EDS: “Uncle Sam needs to refill the Highway Trust Fund now,” wrote the Washington Post editorial board (http://wapo.st/1jeU2bA). And the Spokesman-Review cut right to the case in the headline: “Highway Trust Fund needs boost in federal gas tax” (http://bit.ly/TMRTri).