It looks as if the current highway authorization law, known as TEA-21, will expire September 30 before Congress completes work on a long-term replacement. In the past, such expirations have led to short-term extensions of prior law, usually with the same tax provisions as before. But last-minute changes to federal highway excise taxes can slip in.

At least two other tax bills may pass with changes of importance to trucking. If an energy bill gets beyond a House-Senate conference, it is likely to have incentives for alternative fuels and possibly changes in ethanol taxation. And a bill to fix problems in the taxation of overseas corporation income may also include sweeteners for domestic small businesses and equipment purchasers.