Capitol Comments

On December 6 during the CSG 2018 National Conference in Northern Kentucky-Greater Cincinnati, CSG convened a policy academy on The Intersection of Innovation and Infrastructure. This page includes meeting resources including the policy academy agenda, speaker bios, information about program sponsors and PowerPoint presentations from several of the day's speakers.

Innovations in technology are changing the way we travel, but are also presenting state leaders with an ever-expanding list of policy challenges. Autonomous vehicle and truck platoon testing, increasing sales of electric and alternative fuel vehicles, and the exponential growth of ride-hailing companies have significant policy implications in areas such as workforce development, data management, privacy, insurance, traffic safety, urban planning, transportation funding and environmental protection. State officials are also working with partners to build fiber and broadband networks to enable innovations like connected automation, all-electronic tolling, and smart city and intelligent transportation system technologies. This day-long policy academy highlighted many of these transportation and infrastructure innovations and what they mean for policymakers.

While the public benefits of electric vehicles are becoming increasingly clear, they continue to represent only a small percentage—a little over 1 percent—of new vehicle annual sales in the United States. State legislatures have numerous strategies at their disposal they can deploy to help improve the marketplace for electric vehicles, from helping to expand electric vehicle charging access to encouraging the electrification of public fleets. California and New Hampshire are two states at different stages in their efforts to advance the electric vehicle marketplace. CSG spoke recently with two legislators who have been responsible for enacting related measures in those states.

From a gas tax repeal in California to a proposed gas tax increase in Missouri and from a lockbox amendment in Connecticut to dueling bonding proposals in Colorado, state ballots this November will include a variety of measures that could have a profound impact on the future of transportation around the country. Transportation is also being raised as an issue in many of the nation’s gubernatorial contests this year. Here’s a roundup of some of the transportation policy-related choices voters will face on Election Day and links to where you can read more.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is out this week with the latest iteration of its guidance on automated vehicle policy. The 3.0 version is entitled “Preparing for the Future of Transportation” and as in past versions, it includes a section that seeks to define the role that state governments should play on the road to automation. In addition to a look at the guidance, I have a variety of links to articles and reports on autonomous vehicle policy and industry developments from the last few months.

This month marked the one-year anniversary of the announcement by Amazon that the company would seek a location for a second headquarters somewhere in North America, bringing with it $5 billion in investment and 50,000 jobs. The announcement sparked an intense competition among communities hoping to land HQ2 and resulted in 238 proposals that earlier this year were narrowed down to 20 finalists. With Amazon now expected to announce a winner before the end of the year, it’s time to check in on where things stand with the search, who’s most likely to come out on top and whether we know any more about the criteria the company will use to make their final decision.  

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