1 of 4
Carolyn Kaster, Associated Press
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee members Rep. Chip Cravaack, R-Minn., left, and Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., right, look to each other as Committee Chairman Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., rear, center, speaks during the committee's markup meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012.

WASHINGTON — Congress is struggling to come up with a solution to the nation's crumbling roads, bridges and transit systems, which are at the point of hindering economic growth.

The problems are numerous. Americans have been driving less due to a slow economy, reducing revenue from the gas tax that pays for transportation improvements. Cars that get better gas mileage are likely to offset any uptick in driving as the economy recovers.

A sweeping House Republican plan to transform federal transportation programs was quickly attacked from the left this week as a giveaway to greedy industries and from the right as big government overspending.

A House transportation committee meeting Thursday to approve the $260 billion, 4½ -year bill was marked by bitter partisanship.