Transportation

State policymakers from around the country attended the CSG Autonomous and Connected Vehicle Policy Academy June 12-14, 2017 in Detroit. Attendees heard from representatives of the automotive industry, university researchers, state department of transportation officials and others about how states are preparing for the autonomous and connected vehicle future. This page provides an archive of resources from the academy and links to further reading.

CSG Midwest
Stuck between the reluctance to raise taxes and the omnipresent need to fix transportation systems, legislators and governors may well feel the frustration of drivers caught in traffic. In Wisconsin, for example, Gov. Scott Walker and Assembly and Senate Republicans have been at odds over how to close an almost $1 billion deficit in transportation spending. Walker’s initial $6.1 billion transportation budget, unveiled earlier this year, included a $40 million increase in general transportation aid to local governments and $500 million in borrowing.
In early May, Assembly Republicans proposed raising gasoline taxes to pay for roads while significantly cutting income taxes over the course of a decade, moving from the state’s progressive income tax to a 3.95 percent “flat tax.” Their plan includes new fees on hybrid ($30) and electric vehicles ($125) and the elimination of tax credits aimed at homeowners. It also would cut the existing 30.9-cent per-gallon fuel tax by 4.8 cents while applying the 5 percent state sales tax to fuel purchases.
The Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimated those changes would increase revenue by about $380 million over the next two years, most of which would be used to reduce the borrowing that Walker proposes (from $500 million to $200 million) and to eliminate a transfer of funding from the general fund to the transportation fund.
Gov. Walker rejected the plan’s new sales tax on gasoline, saying it amounts to a new gas tax, but has indicated that he’s open to the tolling of interstates (another proposal from Assembly leaders), if such a plan brings in revenue from out-of-state drivers and is linked to a reduction in the gas tax.
A budget all sides can accept remained elusive as of mid-June. Absent a budget in place before the state’s new fiscal year began on July 1, funding would continue at current levels until one is approved.
Since 2012, six Midwestern states — Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota — have raised gas taxes to provide additional transportation funding. Collectively, half of all U.S. states have enacted transportation funding packages since 2012 to make up for the erosion of gas tax revenues by inflation, says Joung Lee, policy director at the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

With growing mass transit needs and uncertainty about the future of federal funding, states like Georgia and Colorado look for new solutions to expand and maintain their transit systems. It has been suggested that the federal infrastructure investment President Donald Trump campaigned on could attract $1 trillion from the private sector. But his budget proposal shows federal cuts to transit, placing much of the responsibility for funding transit projects on localities...

In February 2016, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo signed into law a plan to spend $4.8 billion on state infrastructure over the next 10 years. RhodeWorks, as the plan is known, received significant attention for including a new funding mechanism—tolls on heavy commercial trucks—and a focus on bringing the state’s aging bridges up to snuff.

If the recent pattern holds, 2017 could end up being a big year for state transportation funding efforts. In 2013, six states approved major transportation packages. In 2015, eight states followed suit. The intervening even-numbered years saw less activity, perhaps owing to shorter legislative sessions in some states and re-election concerns. But transportation policy analysts are confident this year won’t buck the odd-number year trend for a simple reason: It’s time.

President Donald Trump’s promise to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure has raised the nation’s awareness about infrastructure needs in all 50 states. Above and beyond the desire or need for infrastructure additions, it’s clear that the crumbling and aging bridges, roads, water pipes and buildings currently in place need attention. The American Society of Civil Engineers recently graded the nation’s infrastructure at a D+; the same as it was the previous year.

While infrastructure investment was a major focus of Infrastructure Week 2017 activities in Washington, D.C., transportation stakeholders were also busy examining the profound effect autonomous and connected vehicles could have in a variety of areas in the decades to come. At two forums, one on May 16 and the other on May 19, much of the discussion was about the roles federal, state, local and regional policymakers should play in regulating and shaping these technologies so that society can benefit from their potential and mitigate some of their more negative consequences.

CSG Midwest
The Federal Railroad Administration has formally launched an 18-month study that is exploring the long-term development of high-performance, intercity passenger rail service for the Midwest.
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Autonomous vehicles, peer-to-peer and fleet car sharing, the use of telematics data to measure the habits of drivers. All are innovative and disruptive technologies in the automobile world that could have significant implications for insurance in the years ahead. In this webinar, a panel of experts discussed the public policy considerations stemming from these advancements.

CSG Midwest
In 2016, drivers distracted by their phones or other devices caused 1,230 crashes on Iowa roads, nearly double the number from a decade ago, state statistics show. This year, the state’s lawmakers passed two bills to crack down on these motorists.

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