This week in Transportation: Shuster tries to carve out space for spending

"Understanding the federal role in financing, building, and maintaining an efficient system of infrastructure is critical to ensuring U.S. economic growth and global competitiveness," he continued.

Witnesses scheduled to testify will include U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue, Laborers’ International Union of North America General President Terry O’Sullivan and former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D), who is now co-chairman of an infrastructure group called Building America’s Future.

Transportation observers will also be watching President Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday to see how prominently transportation figures in his remarks to both chambers of Congress.

Obama has used previous State of the Union speeches to push for more infrastructure spending, and he first rolled out his proposal for a national network of high-speed railways at an earlier address.

The president has been less specific about transportation proposals in recent years, however, advocating for general infrastructure improvements like repairing existing roads and bridges.