The lack of investment in transportation in U.S. has been a problem. The funding in transportation does not match with the maintenance, and also not for the residents’ needs. In this investment crisis, federal governments lose their role to solve this problem. Instead, states and local governments take actions to solve this investment crisis. Two major actions they have are:
1) Increase gas tax: to better maintain highway system, state governments either increased gas tax or in the process of debating increase gas tax for lack of money. Even for the states controlled by Republican, increasing gas tax is also possible.
2) Ballot measure to increase transportation funding. Local government tried to pass the ballot measures to increase the transportation funding. Some cities raise sales tax for public transit. The ballot measures were passed in some cities, but also failed in some cities. For a long list about the ballot measures to visit: http://www.cfte.org/elections/past
These facts also reflect that state/local governments react quicker for local needs on infrastructure. This is one of the features of fiscal federalism. At the same time, these actions also reflect what happened in the situation that public investment is not sufficient for demands. When the price for the public service (here is the transportation system), citizens will think about how to change this situation to make the service satisfied.
(picture from Brooking Institute)
Transportation investment is a matter of (local) perspective. Brooking Institutes
States Raise Gas Taxes to Pay for Infrastructure: As Congress Only Takes Short-Term Steps, Governors Seek More Funds for Roads. The Wall Street Journal http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304886904579473631543152814
How Red States Learned to Love the Gas Tax. The Atlantic
Intergovernmental Challenges in Surface Transportation Funding: First report in the Fiscal Federalism in Action series. The Pew Charitable Trusts.
States Raising Gas Taxes for Road Revenues. The Bond Buyer.http://www.bondbuyer.com/news/washington-infrastructure/states-raising-gas-taxes-for-road-revenues-1071179-1.html