Thanksgiving Week Transportation Policy Highlights
For those not off to Grandmother’s house just yet, here are a few recent transportation-related stories, links and reports for your post-tryptophan coma reading pleasure. There are items on surface transportation authorization, traffic congestion, the economic impact of infrastructure investment and transportation finance.
- The bipartisan surface transportation authorization bill approved unanimously by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee a couple of weeks ago (it’s known as MAP-21) must still come before other Senate committees with jurisdiction over various aspects of the legislation. One of those is the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, which will consider the portion that deals with transit programs. Streetsblog Capitol Hill ponders what the transit section might look like.
- The Transportation Issues Daily blog has a list of “8 Things Revealed—or Not—About the House Transportation Bill” and a list of “4 Questions about the House Transportation Proposal.”
- Ryan Alexander of the group Taxpayers for Common Sense told a House subcommittee hearing last week that the House Republican plan to fund transportation with expected revenues from increased oil and gas drilling is not “a responsible budget approach,” Streetsblog Capitol Hill reported.
- In his latest Innovation Newsbrief, public policy consultant Ken Orski examines “The Precarious State of the Highway Trust Fund.”
- The Texas Transportation Institute has released its “2011 Congested Corridors Report.”
Impact of Infrastructure Investment
- Congress’ Joint Economic Committee met last week to look at the potential impacts of infrastructure investment on job creation. Andrew Hermann of the American Society of Civil Engineers and Robert Puentes of the Brookings Institution were among those testifying. There is video of the hearing and written statements from the witnesses available here.
- Puentes also took part recently in an Illinois forum on infrastructure funding and financing. He spoke about the surface transportation bill. Other speakers included Illinois Sen. Heather Stearns, who focused on public-private partnerships, and Paul Hanley of the University of Iowa, who talked about mileage-based user fees. The Grid Chicago blog has a recap.
- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is considering using public employee and trade union pension funds as well as private equity firms to finance infrastructure, including a new Tappan Zee bridge in New York City, Bloomberg reports.
- Dan Vock of Stateline reports this week on an “avalanche of toll increases” around the country.
- CNN.com has “Five myths about your gasoline taxes.”
- State tax collections on motor-fuel sales topped $10 billion for the first time ever during the second quarter of 2011, according to Census Bureau data.
- The Transportation Research Board has a lengthy new report on the “Equity of Evolving Transportation Finance Mechanisms.”
- And finally: The Topeka Capital-Journal interviews outgoing Kansas Transportation Secretary Deb Miller, who says it’s time for her state to stop borrowing money earmarked for transportation improvements to fill budget shortfalls.