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Infra Insight Blog

Law & Policy

Congressman Delaney Talks Infrastructure Funding at IBBTA Conference

Posted in Financing, Legislation, Policy

Dollars ahead. Yellow traffic sign.On March 31, 2015, Congressman John K. Delaney (D-MD) spoke at the Washington Briefing of the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBBTA) in Washington, DC.  At the event, Congressman Delaney provided an update on a bipartisan bill he has sponsored known as “The Infrastructure 2.0 Act” to fund the federal highway program.  The bill uses international corporate tax reform to provide a six-year funding source for the Highway Trust Fund.  Specifically, the bill establishes a mandatory, one-time 8.75% tax on existing overseas profits accumulated by U.S. multi-national corporations, which replaces the current deferral option and tax rate of 35%.  The revenue generated would contribute $120 billion to the Highway Trust Fund and $50 billion to capitalize the American Infrastructure Fund – a new financing mechanism for transportation, water, energy, communication and education projects.  The bill also establishes a bipartisan and bicameral commission to develop a permanent solution for ensuring solvency of the Highway Trust Fund.

Congressman Delaney expressed optimism that the bill would garner broad support because the revenue generated was devoted to improving the nation’s infrastructure – a topic generally favored by Democrats.  At the same time, the bill also addresses international corporate tax reform – a topic generally favored by Republicans.  One of the outstanding issues, however, is finding the “sweet spot” for a repatriation tax rate acceptable to both political parties and the White House.  The “GROW AMERICA Act 2.0” proposed by the White House Administration offers a 14% one-time, tax rate.  By comparison, the “Invest in Transportation Act,” to be introduced by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Rand Paul (R-KY), proposes a tax rate of 6.5%.

Pilot Program Will Allow Local Hiring Preference for Workers on Federal Transportation Projects

Posted in News, Policy

Federal transportation officials are contemplating new contract rules that would make it easier for states and cities to hire local residents to work on transportation projects.  Federal rules currently prohibit the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) from allowing contract provisions that do not directly relate to the bidder’s performance of work.  Thus, local hiring provisions have not been allowed in procurements for federally funded projects.  This month, however, U.S. Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx, announced a year-long pilot program that will take a closer look at the longtime prohibition.  Mayors of three cities—Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, Kasim Reed of Atlanta, and William Bell of Birmingham, Alabama—voiced their support for the pilot program.  “When we invest in L.A. infrastructure, we want to maximize our investment in L.A. jobs, and this provides us with a new way forward to boost our local economy as we cut traffic and fight smog,” said Garcetti.  “I thank Secretary Foxx for his commitment to strengthening my city and communities across the nation.”

The program accompanies a recent Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to amend the “common grant rule” that would allow localities to, “impose geographic-based hiring preferences wherever not otherwise prohibited by Federal statute.”  Many local governments already include local hiring provisions in their procurements that don’t involve federal funding.  Such provisions are intended to ensure that the communities in which projects are located benefit from the jobs that result from their investments.

The pilot program announced by Foxx will allow the FHWA and FTA to test and evaluate the merits of such local hiring provisions and whether the existing competitive bidding process can be improved.  Greg Nadeau, deputy administrator of the FHWA, said, “This measure will go a long way to bridging the gap between the qualified workers who need work and projects that need them.”  The pilot program is intended to determine whether the current federal rules “unduly limit competition.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation is particularly interested in contracts for which bidders wish to use local or geographic  hiring preferences, economic-based hiring preferences, or hiring preferences for veterans.

“We want to create ladders of opportunities for them, as well as for low-income workers and veterans, to help put some of the transportation investments we make in the hands of those who would benefit most,” Foxx said.

The agency will not approve projects that would involve altering the requirements of the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program.  Therese McMillan, acting administrator of the FTA, added: “The investments we make in local communities are truly transformational.  These investments should not only change the landscape of a community, but it should also transform and improve the lives of its residents, too.”

The pilot program is proposed as an experiment under FHWA’s Special Experimental Project No. 14 (SEP-14) and FTA experimental authorities.  The DOT published a related proposal in the Federal Register to modify the “common grant” rule geographic preference provision applied to USDOT programs.  Comments on the proposed rule will be accepted through April 6.

New Guidance for Transparency in “Best Value” Procurements

Posted in News, PPPs

“Best value” procurements are sometimes criticized as involving a “black box” decision-making process.  A recent report issued by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (“NCHRP”) discusses practices to increase transparency in such procurements.  The report is NCHRP’s latest installment of its “Synthesis of Highway Practice,” issued on March 5, 2015.  A resource for public agencies, this “synthesis” addresses best practices for developing transparent “best value” selection procedures in public procurements.  These concepts are of particular interest to public and private entities seeking to engage fair, value-based public-private partnership (“P3”) solutions to highway, and more broadly transportation, challenges in an environment of restricted funding and aging national transportation infrastructure.

The synthesis examines practices relating to the procurement process, where cost of the transportation asset is one among several factors in evaluating the winning bidder.  The paper surveys practices across jurisdictions in best value procurement processes and highlights case studies that support transparency in such procurements.

The report lists seven “best value case examples” from procuring agencies that the NCHRP authors “found to have the most effective best value experience.”  Prominent to all were consistent algorithmic value judgments against “clear, easy to understand and project-specific” evaluation criteria.  These judgments translate into “adjectival ratings,” that are in turn given quantitative values for direct scoring “best value” submissions.  “States most frequently using only a few of the available award algorithms and rating methods promote transparency….”.  Other features of successful “best value” practices were separating price proposals from technical scoring, and pre-publishing relative or actual weights of evaluation criteria.  “Approaches that contain the minimal number of evaluation criteria to succinctly align the procurement with stated project goals” were found to promote transparency.

It should be noted that the desire for transparency needs to be balanced against the public agency’s need to be able to make decisions regarding what constitutes the “best value” for the public.  As an example, FHWA’s design-build rule requires federal-aid grantees to identify the relative weightings of the factors and major subfactors used to make the selection, but does not require use of formulas.  Under one view, use of formulas as the basis for selection can be seen as an abdication of the responsibility to engage in an intelligent decision-making process to determine which proposal truly offers the best value to the public.  (For a discussion regarding this issue, see NCHRP Report 561, “Best-Value Procurement Methods for Highway Construction Projects” (2006), p. 54.)  Furthermore, use of a formula does not avoid subjectivity in the evaluation process, since scoring is necessarily the product of subjective decisions by the individuals involved in evaluations.  For projects where the public agency has determined that the advantages of providing greater transparency outweigh the disadvantages associated with loss of flexibility in decision-making, this synthesis offers information regarding different approaches that agencies may wish to consider so as to make the procurement process as transparent and objective as possible.

Arizona Department of Transportation Shortlists Three Teams for the South Mountain Freeway P3 Project

Posted in PPPs

The Arizona Department of Transportation (“ADOT”) announced today it has shortlisted three developer teams vying for the $1.9 billion design-build-maintain contract for the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway Project.  The three multidiscipline teams, in alphabetical order, are:

  • Connect 202 Partners
    •  Fluor Enterprises Inc.
    • Granite Construction Co.
    • Ames Construction Inc.
    • Parsons Brinckerhoff Inc.
    • DBi Services LLC
    • AZTEC Engineering Group, Inc.
    • Stanley Consultants
    • Kleinfelder Group, Inc.
    • AMEC Environmental & Infrasstructure, Inc.
    • The Transtec Group
    • Gunn Communications, Inc.
    • Tierra Right Of Way Services, Ltd.
    • Universal Field Services, Inc.
    • Acquisition Sciences, Ltd.
  • South Mountain Development Group
    • Kiewit Development Company
    • Sundt Construction, Inc.
    • Kiewit Infrastructure West Co.
    • Parsons Transportation Group Inc.
    • Miller Infrastructures Inc.
    • Kiewit Infrastructure Group Inc.
    • Gannett Fleming, Inc.
    • Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc.
    • TY Lin
    • Logan Simpson Design, Inc.
    • Terracon Consultants, Inc.
    • Sunland Asphalt
    • Combs Construction Co., Inc.
    • Vastco, Inc.
    • Central Creative, LLC
    • Premier Engineering Corporation
    • Ritoch-Powell & Associates
    • Al Field & Assocates, LLC
    • Overland, Pacific & Cutler, Inc.
  • South Mountain Mobility Group
    • Dragados USA, Inc.
    • Flatiron Constructors, Inc.
    • Pulice Construction Inc.
    • AECOM Infrastructure Inc.
    • AECOM Technical Services, Inc.
    • ACS Infrastructure Development, Inc.
    • Dragados S.A.
    • Flatiron Construction Corp.
    • AECOM Technical Services, Inc.
    • Iridium Concesiones de Infraestructuras, S.A.
    • AECOM Technology Corporation
    • Partners for Strategic Action, Inc.
    • Tierra Right Of Way Services, Ltd.
    • PRR Biz
    • First Strategic
    • Acquisition Sciences, Ltd.
    • FNF Constructiion, Inc.
    • Rummel Construction, Inc.
    • McNeil Brothers, Inc.
    • Roadway Electric LLC
    • Andes Engineering
    • Dibble Engineering
    • DME Consultants, LLC
    • Geomatic Consulting Group
    • J2 Engineering & Environmental Design, LLC
    • Lee Engineering, LLC
    • Michael Baker Jr., Inc.
    • Ninyo & Moore, Inc.
    • POINT Engineers, LLC
    • Shannon & Wilson, Inc.
    • Structural Grace, Inc.
    • Tappendorf Engineering Consultants, PLLC
    • Western Technologies, Inc.
    • Wilson & Company, Inc.

ADOT received five statements of qualifications for the project last December, and awaited release of the Project’s record of decision before making its shortlisting determination.  The Federal Highway Administration issued the record of decision last week.

This megaproject includes the design, construction and 30-year maintenance of the last section of the Loop 202 Freeway, which will stretch 22 miles from the Maricopa Freeway segment of Interstate I-10 to the Papago Freeway segment of the I-10 in the southwestern quadrant of the Phoenix Metropolitan Area.

The project has been a critical part of the Maricopa Association of Governments Regional Freeway Program since it was first included in funding through Proposition 300 approved by Maricopa County voters in 1985. The freeway is also part of the Regional Transportation Plan funding passed by Maricopa County voters in 2004 through Proposition 400.

The project will be the first highway project procured under Arizona’s public-private-partnership statute, and ADOT’s first design-build-maintain project ever.   ADOT will fund the project capital costs with a combination of available public funds from sales tax revenues and tax-exempt bonds.

ADOT plans to issue the final RFP late this spring, with the best-value selection and award of the design-build-maintain agreement anticipated for the end of this year.

Contact projects@azdot.gov for inquiries about the project and the procurement process.

Mileage-Based User Fee Alliance Promotes Alternate Source of Transportation Funding

Posted in News, Policy

The Second Annual Conference of the Mileage-Based User Fee Alliance (MBUFA) was held in Washington, DC on February 24, 2015.  The MBUFA is a non-profit organization that promotes awareness and education about mileage-based user fees as an alternative for the future funding of improvements to the U.S. transportation system.  Attendees included policy makers, public sector representatives and private sector stakeholders weighing in on the topic “Sustainable Transportation Funding, Road User Fees: Is There Another Option for Achieving Financial Sustainability?”   The concept of a mileage-based user fee is to charge users of transportation infrastructure for its use, rather than relying on gas taxes primarily as the source of transportation infrastructure funding.  The MBUFA conference opened with Representative Earl Blumenauer (D. Ore.), who discussed two bills he introduced to address the nation’s aging infrastructure.  The first, the UPDATE Act would phase in a 15 cent increase in the gas tax over the next three years, then transition to a long-term alternate funding source to replace the gas tax entirely.  The second bill, the Road Usage Charge Pilot Project, would establish a grant program of $30 million to determine the costs and benefits of mileage-based user fee systems.

A subsequent panel spoke to an existing research project and study on the requirements of multistate mileage-based user fees, congestion pricing and implementation.  The panelists described the study, and a case study in the mid-Atlantic, and the I-95 Corridor Coalition’s long-range vision that resulted in a long-range vision that set forth all of the functions that would need to be accomplished by a multistate MBUF system that encompasses all miles traveled by all vehicles by state and jurisdiction as well as tolls and congestion-based charges.

The conference also featured a panel discussion of private sector experts who described the implementing technologies that are already available.  The panelists were asked what the “magic number” might be to allow states to implement a MBUF at no cost to the state.  The experts agreed that that number would vary based on the desired services associated with the fee and other unique factors.

More information about the Mileage-Based User Fee Alliance can be found here.

Will We See a Trend For Direct Pension Fund Investment In US Greenfields Infrastructure?

Posted in PPPs, Tollroads/ Turnpikes/ Managed Lanes

Although historically the investment profile for pension funds has focused on established brownfields assets, the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) has recently invested $525 million AUD into the greenfields NorthConnex road tunnel in Sydney, Australia in partnership with experienced road operator Transurban and the Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC). CPPIB’s investment comes hot on the heels of the Public Sector Pension Investment Board’s (PSPIB) investment into Indiana’s I-69 availability road project as part of the successful consortium and the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System’s (DPFPS) 2010 equity investment in Texas’ LBJ  Freeway (I‐635) managed lanes toll-road and may suggest an increased willingness for pension and infrastructure funds to invest in greenfields projects.

It’s no secret that the US P3 infrastructure market is growing, resulting in an increased appetite for infrastructure investment, so what might it take to develop investment by pension and infrastructure funds in US greenfields P3 projects?

Increase investment in infrastructure by relevant funds.  For the better part of the last decade, the US market has heard of an intention within pension funds to increase investment to infrastructure – usually to around 3% of the total fund investment. We have also seen an increase in the number of US funds specifically geared towards infrastructure investment and many examples of fund investment into de-risked projects (eg Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association – College Retirement Equities Fund acquisition of half of Actividades de Construcción y Services’ stake in Florida’s I-595 Corridor P3 project). If, however, infrastructure fund investment is to truly play a pivotal role in solving the US’s current infrastructure challenges, then there is no doubt the total investment percentage should continue to increase to match international fund investment leaders such as Canada (5%) and Australia (6%).

Return on investment for shareholders.  The primary responsibility of any institutional investor is to provide a return on investment to their members. Although infrastructure funds have historically preferred brownfield assets with guaranteed income streams (and therefore lower risk), the opportunity to invest in greenfield projects with significantly higher returns (albeit greater risks) is not unprecedented. CPPIB’s investment in NorthConnex is an example of this with the funding for the capital works being provided by an innovative financing structure that leverages enhancements to the existing M7 concession including extension of the existing concession, higher truck tolls and additional gearing with the private sector party maintaining demand risk. Although the bundling of the existing toll revenue stream from the operational M7 concession differentiates NorthConnex from a pure greenfields transaction, it is likely that significant due diligence was required to ensure lessons learned from perceived failed deals where demand risk has been transferred to the private sector (eg Lane Cove Tunnel in Australia and South Bay Expressway in the United States) were adopted to ensure a robust investment.

Increase knowledge base and resourcing within pension funds. Over the years, sophisticated infrastructure investors in Canada and Australia to a lesser extent have developed in-house expertise to allow direct investment in resources rather than being reliant on financiers or external consultants.  This increased expertise allows these investors to take lead roles in consortiums bidding on transactions from the outset and to exercise a greater degree of control over design, construction, operation, maintenance and long term participation in the asset. The development of this kind of in-house expertise is critical to developing a stable platform for infrastructure fund investment.

Political stability and development of a pipeline. Given the long term nature of a P3 investment, political and regulatory stability is essential to encouraging investment. For overseas investors in the US market, this will require confidence that there is political and public acceptance of private sector investment in infrastructure. For domestic and international investors, they will require certainty that a P3 pipeline will be developed and appropriately structured so as to foster private sector investment in projects deemed suitable for P3 delivery. For the latter reason, it seems no coincidence that the investments made by PSPIB and DPFPS were in Indiana and Texas, both States who have been progressive and consistent in development of a P3 program.

When considering whether CPPIB’s Australian investment, PSPIB’s investment in Indiana and DPFPS’s investment in Texas might spark a trend towards greater investment in US greenfields P3 projects, it is probably too early to tell. Given the investment strategy of pension funds is well aligned with a robust P3 model, there will likely be continued investment in brownfields projects (including where the project is de-risked after completion).  The opportunity for greenfields P3 investment will continue to depend on the private sectors appetite for risk (including transfer of demand risk), the ability for the private sector to properly assess the likely return on investment through thorough due diligence, the nature of the asset proposed to be delivered, the level of political certainty surrounding the project and the availability within the fund to take on a higher risk investment to balance its portfolio. Watch this space…

Florida Governor Rick Scott Breaks Ground on I-4 Ultimate Project

Posted in PPPs, Tollroads/ Turnpikes/ Managed Lanes

Florida Governor Rick Scott broke ground yesterday on the I-4 Ultimate Project, which will rebuild I-4 in metro-Orlando.  The Project involves the reconstruction of 21 miles of I-4 from west of Kirkman Road in Orange County to east of State Road 434 in Seminole County and promises to bring much needed relief to one of the most congested highways in the state.  Along with developing a signature corridor with aesthetic enhancements and landscaping to convey the “Florida Experience,” the Project will provide a choice to motorists by adding two variable priced toll express lanes in each direction while maintaining the existing free general use lanes.

At the groundbreaking ceremony, Governor Scott said, “Today, I’m proud to announce that we have broken ground on the I-4 Ultimate project, a $2.3 billion investment that will dramatically improve and expand the I-4 corridor in the Orlando area. The I-4 Ultimate project will reduce congestion while continuing to make our roadways better, safer and easier for Florida families and our visitors. Transportation projects like this will encourage people and businesses from around the world to move to our state and keep us on a path to become the global leader in job creation.”

The I-4 Ultimate Project is the third transportation P3 project in Florida developed through an availability payment structure, and is the largest availability payment transaction ever undertaken in the United States.  Under the P3 concession agreement, I-4 Mobility Partners, a consortium led by Skanska Infrastructure Development and John Laing Investments, will design, build, finance, operate, and maintain the 21-mile stretch of interstate for 40 years.  The use of a P3 for the I-4 Ultimate Project will help deliver the improvements nearly 20 years sooner than would the use of conventional methods.  The Project is expected to be completed in 2021.

For more information on the I-4 Ultimate Project, please visit the project website at www.i4ultimate.com.


Amtrak Bill Aims To Keep Northeast Corridor Profits on the Northeast Corridor

Posted in Rail and Transit

The House Transportation Committee has approved the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act, a bill that would reauthorize Amtrak and other rail programs.  The bill is substantially the same as the 2014 legislation and is described by the Committee as “bipartisan legislation that improves the infrastructure, reduces costs, creates greater accountability and transparency, leverages private sector resources, and accelerates project delivery for Amtrak and the Nation’s passenger rail transportation system.”  The 2014 bill did not receive a vote in the full House and the Senate did not take any action.  Leaders are optimistic that with Republican control of the House and Senate, there is a better chance of the legislation making its way to the President’s desk this year.

“This bill, which passed the Committee with unanimous bipartisan support last Congress, will give Amtrak the ability to modernize and improve so that they can best serve the millions of Americans who depend on their service daily,” said Rep. Jeff Denham, Chair of the Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee and one of the sponsors of the bill.  “It will also cut costs, ensure greater accountability to the public, and speed up project delivery across the Nation.”

The bill includes a provision mandating that revenues generated on Amtrak’s only profitable line, the Northeast Corridor, be reinvested back into the Northeast Corridor instead of supporting other non-profitable routes. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee touted this provision as “target[ing] investments where there is the greatest likelihood of success.”

The Northeast Corridor runs, for the most part, on Amtrak-owned rail lines from Washington, DC to Boston.  Amtrak operates over 200 trains on the Northeast Corridor each day, and other commuter railroads operate 1800 daily trains on the Corridor.  The Northeast Corridor has over 200 million riders per year and has long been the only profitable route on the Amtrak system.  Last year, the Northeast Corridor generated revenue of over $480 million while the operating deficit from the long-distance routes was approximately $600 million.  However, due what the Committee calls Amtrak’s “black box” accounting, the revenues from the Northeast Corridor are not reinvested directly back into the Northeast Corridor but go into a general fund for Amtrak’s entire system.   The bill changes that accounting system, mandating that revenues from the Northeast Corridor be put back into Northeast Corridor improvements rather than going to support other, unprofitable routes.

Keeping the Northeast Corridor revenues on the Corridor could result in service improvements for the millions of passengers who rely on Amtrak to get back and forth between Washington and Boston each year.

California to Purchase High-Speed Trains

Posted in Design-Build, High-Speed Rail


On January 30, the California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) issued a draft Request For Proposals (RFP) for Tier III trainsets and invited industry to submit comments.

The Authority is seeking a trainset manufacturer to design, build and maintain Tier III trainsets.  The trainsets will have a minimum of 450 seats and be able to carry passengers from Los Angeles to San Francisco in less than three hours.

Firms that have submitted expressions of interest accepted by the Authority will be able to comment on the draft RFP.  All comments are due by Tuesday, February 24, 2015, at 3:00PM PST.  Prior to the Authority’s issuance of the final RFP, firms that submitted expressions of interest will be invited to participate in one-on-one meetings to discuss the draft RFP.

Rail Delivery Partner

On January 29, the Authority issued a Request For Qualifications (RFQ) for a rail delivery partner (RDP).

The services sought by the Authority through this RFQ include program management oversight, strategic advice, business planning, and management assistance.

Firms will have until March 23, 2015, at 3:00PM PST to submit their statements of qualifications.  The RDP contract would be for services through 2022.

More information is available on the Authority’s website:



President Releases 2016 Budget Proposal

Posted in News

Earlier today, President Barack Obama released his approximately $4 trillion budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2016, which begins on October 1 of this year.  While the President’s proposed budget covers everything from defense to diseases, he has included a particularly ambitious proposal for transportation.

The President’s proposed budget provides $94.7 billion in funding for the Department of Transportation (“US DOT”), covering infrastructure development and safety enhancement in highways and bridges, transit, railroads, and aviation.  The President is proposing a one-time, mandatory 14% tax on American-based companies’ overseas profits to help fund the Highway Trust Fund, along with the current gas tax.  Similar “repatriation” proposals have been made in the past by both Democrats and Republicans.

In particular, the proposed budget includes a $478 billion, six-year surface transportation authorization, including the following highlights:

  • A permanent authorization of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (“TIGER”) program, which was first implemented under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and $1.25 billion per year to the TIGER program each year of the surface transportation authorization bill;
  • $18 billion to address freight bottlenecks;
  • Increasing transit and inter-city passenger rail funding to $144 billion;
  • $1 billion per year for the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program, which provides credit assistance to projects of national or regional significance;
  • Funding for a new Interagency Infrastructure Permitting Improvement Center and a Permitting Dashboard within the US DOT, both intended to modernize the permitting process for infrastructure projects;
  • A new Fixing and Accelerating Surface Transportation program, which will dedicate $6 billion to incentivize state and local agencies to improve safety and address peak traffic demand management;
  • Establishing a National Infrastructure Bank, with $7.703 billion allocated over the next decade to help leverage public and private investment in infrastructure of national or regional significance; and
  • Creating two new bond programs:
    • Allocating $258 million over the next decade to American Fast Forward bonds, which are taxable bonds modeled after Build America Bonds and which provide state and local governments an alternative to traditional tax-exempt bonds; and
    • Tax exempt Qualified Public Infrastructure Bonds, which may be used on eligible projects such as airports, docks and wharves, mass commuting facilities, facilities for the furnishing of water, sewage facilities, solid waste disposal facilities, and qualified highway or surface freight transfer facilities owned by state or local governments and available for general public use.

The proposed surface transportation authorization in the President’s budget is different from last year’s GROW AMERICA Act proposal in two significant ways: (1) the new proposal will last six years; and (2) last year’s proposal did not include a formula for funding.

It should be emphasized that the President’s proposed budget is just that – a proposal.  Congress is required to take action on transportation and all other policy areas which, along with a Presidential signature, will enact changes.  With the most recent fix to the Highway Trust Fund expiring at the end of May 2015, work on this issue cannot start soon enough.