Times are good, new roads are needed, and we can figure out how to pay for it later.
That's the argument that carried the day for Rep. Bud Shuster, R-Pa., who just six months ago was fighting the Republican party's leaders over a plan they said would throw the recently enacted balanced-budget plan out of whack, to the tune of $26 billion.
The bill enacted by the House last Wednesday still spends more than the balanced-budget pact would allow, but the 337-80 vote signals a willingness by House members to commit cash for roads now, and find so-called "offsets" - places in the budget to make offsetting cuts - somewhere down the road.
Part of the reason for Shuster's success came as a result of an argument he detailed in a visit to The Herald-Mail this past January. Instead of spending cash in the nation's transportation trust funds for their intended purposes - roads, bridges and rail crossings - Shuster argued that federal officials were hoarding it to reduce the size of the annual budget deficit.