Resolution on Guiding Principles for Surface Transportation Reauthorization

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WHEREAS, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act (SAFETEA-LU) expired in 2009 and Congress has yet to pass a long-term successor to fund and re-shape federal transportation programs; and

WHEREAS, uncertainty about future investment in transportation is making it difficult for road contractors to maintain jobs, plan or buy equipment and supplies; and

WHEREAS, that uncertainty is making it difficult for states to meet the demands of repairing crumbling infrastructure, building new roads and providing transportation alternatives; and

WHEREAS, state governments have a vested interest in ensuring that the next federal authorization reflects state government priorities and allows states to meet their transportation needs; and

WHEREAS, several of CSG’s sister organizations including the National Governors’ Association, National Conference of State Legislatures, National Association of Counties and National League of Cities are on record in support of seven guiding principles for surface transportation that represent common ground among these national organizations; and

WHEREAS, these principles closely mirror principles agreed upon by members of The Council of State Governments in a series of policy resolutions passed during 2008 and 2009.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments expresses support for these same guiding principles and believes Congress should take them into consideration as they debate legislation to reauthorize federal transportation programs; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments supports the continuation of the “user pays” principle to guide transportation funding; believes adequate and reliable sources of revenue are needed to supplement existing motor fuels and sales taxes that currently fund the Highway Trust Fund; and believes that all funding and finance options should be on the table for evaluation, including expanded tolling and public-private partnerships; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments supports federal funding mechanisms designed to maintain reliable, long-term funding certainty; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments supports preservation of core federal surface transportation programs, but recognizes the need for program reforms including the elimination of earmarks and the creation of new and innovative programs to improve freight movement; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments supports funding flexibility to reflect our diversity of geography, population and priorities; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments supports federal efforts to streamline project delivery that reduces project approval and completion time and improves efficiencies while preserving the intent underlying critical environmental, planning and design, and procurement reviews; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments supports a strong federal role in funding transportation solutions for metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas across the country.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments believes the design and execution of congestion relief efforts must provide sufficient flexibility because fixed and variable conditions associated with geography, density, and population create unique environments throughout the nation’s metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas that demand tailored strategies.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments supports outcome-oriented performance measures developed by states and localities that are clear, measurable and fair.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments supports cooperation among all levels of government to improve the safety and mobility of the surface transportation system, protect the environment, and ensure the security of transportation assets throughout the country.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments will work alongside the aforementioned organizations in advocacy of these principles before Congress and Federal officials.

Adopted by the Executive Committee this 18th Day of June, 2011 during CSG’s 2011 Spring Executive Committee meeting in Washington, DC.