Authorization

Day two of the CSG Transportation Policy Academy in Washington, DC included a transportation policy roundtable featuring a variety of transportation stakeholders and experts. The final panel of the morning featured: Emil Frankel, a visiting scholar at the Bipartisan Policy Center, former U.S. Department of Transportation official during the Bush Administration and veteran of previous CSG Transportation Policy Academies; Sarah Kline, Research Director for the DC-based advocacy coalition Transportation for America, former Senate staffer and D.C.-area transit official; and Paul Feenstra, Senior Vice President for Government and External Affairs at the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America). They discussed the prospects for MAP-21 reauthorization, how local communities are energized to invest in transportation options, how technology solutions can help communities get the most out of existing infrastructure, the shortcomings of transportation project planning processes and how MAP-21’s focus on performance measurement may help improve them.

Day two of the CSG Transportation Policy Academy in Washington, DC included a transportation policy roundtable featuring a variety of transportation stakeholders and experts. Among them was Joung Lee, Associate Director for Finance and Business Development at the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). He spoke about the impact of the political division in Washington on transportation funding, the popularity of sales taxes to fund transportation at the state and regional levels, Oregon’s mileage-based fee program and the success of state funding initiatives around the country in 2013.

Day two of the CSG Transportation Policy Academy in Washington, DC included a transportation policy roundtable featuring a variety of transportation stakeholders and experts. Among them was Drew Preston, Manager of Congressional and Public Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He spoke about the importance of private investment in the future of transportation, the Chamber’s efforts to recruit infrastructure champions in the business community and how state officials and the Chamber can work together in support of state and federal transportation investment.

Day two of the CSG Transportation Policy Academy in Washington, DC included a transportation policy roundtable featuring a variety of transportation stakeholders and experts. Among them was Joshua Schank, President and CEO of the Eno Center for Transportation, a DC-based think tank and non-profit foundation with the mission of improving transportation policy and leadership. Among the topics he addressed: whether the transportation funding package passed in Virginia this year could influence Congress, what bipartisan cooperation on a water resources bill means for the chances for MAP-21 reauthorization, a recent proposal on interstate tolling, Oregon’s mileage-based user fee program and state and federal accountability initiatives.

Ten state legislators from around the country, many of them transportation committee chairs or vice chairs in their respective states, attended the invitation-only CSG Transportation Policy Academy October 28-30, 2013 in Washington, DC. The event included a panel discussion on the transportation funding packages approved this year in Maryland and Virginia. Attendees met with members of Congress and officials at the U.S. Department of Transportation. They toured transportation projects in Maryland and got a briefing on vehicle-to-vehicle technology at Toyota's Government Affairs office. In addition, the group took part in a transportation policy roundtable that included stakeholders and experts from the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Eno Center for Transportation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the Bipartisan Policy Center, Transportation for America and ITS America. The discussion focused on such topics as the state of the nation's infrastructure, the federal role in transportation, the role of the business community in encouraging infrastructure investment, the chances for a new federal surface transportation bill and the future of transportation funding and the federal-state-local partnership on transportation. This page includes links to additional pages highlighting various portions of the policy academy and including extended remarks from speakers, additional resources and further reading.

There are a number of recent news items suggesting several states could follow in the footsteps of Virginia as they seek ways to fund their infrastructure needs going forward. Some in Congress also appear to be taking a hard look at the Virginia plan, which included eliminating the state’s 17.5 cents-per-gallon gas tax in favor of new wholesale taxes on gasoline and diesel and an increase in the general sales tax. I also have updates on some other states looking at transportation funding issues and a preview of our upcoming Transportation Policy Academy in Washington, DC, where many of these issues will likely be part of the conversation.

With the government shutdown continuing into a second week, there may be a whole lot less bureaucracy in Washington these days. But that actually may be throwing up some roadblocks for the completion of transportation projects around the country. I also have links to some recent reports on performance measurement, transportation funding and why some public-private partnerships fail.

This week saw the 20th anniversary of the last time the federal gas tax was raised and there is plenty of evidence that its days could be numbered. Meanwhile this week also marked the start of the one-year countdown to the expiration of MAP-21, the federal surface transportation authorization legislation, in September 2014. But some believe this week’s partial government shutdown should give pause to anyone hoping for on-time approval of a successor to the bill next year.

CSG leaders approved two transportation-related policy resolutions at the CSG National Conference that wrapped up Sunday in Kansas City (see here and here). One of them calls on Congress to approve the next federal surface transportation authorization bill on time next year. The other calls for a program to support alternative funding mechanisms at the state level. Both issues were the focus of testimony at a hearing in Washington this week that officially kicked off a year-long (or more) push towards a successor to MAP-21, the 2012 authorization bill.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments calls on Congress to pass the next federal surface transportation authorization bill prior to the expiration of MAP-21 on September 30, 2014, and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments calls on Congress to engage on the issues of the future of the federal transportation program and the Highway Trust Fund during their deliberations on the next authorization bill.

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