Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 08:41 AM
Absent a consensus on how to address an ever-widening gap between state revenues available to spend on transportation infrastructure and how much it actually costs to maintain and improve it, a number of states in 2011 turned to specially appointed task forces and commissions for answers. Iowa, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Washington were among the states with panels to issue recommendations. This brief examines their processes and findings, how their funding recommendations have fared politically and the chances for future success.
This brief is an extended version of an article that appears in the 2012 edition of CSG’s The Book of the States.
Many states face an ever-widening chasm between how much they have available to spend on transportation infrastructure and how much it actually costs to maintain and improve that infrastructure. There are numerous reasons for this, including the decline of existing revenue sources due to increased fuel efficiency, inflation and other factors; the uncertainty over federal funding levels and a lack of political resolve to address the problems at all levels of government. Absent a consensus on how to move forward, a number of states in 2011 turned to transportation funding task forces and blue ribbon commissions, diverse groups of stakeholders charged with making recommendations as to how these states could come up with the needed funds to meet their infrastructure needs in the years ahead. While policymakers don’t always heed their recommendations immediately, task forces and commissions can play an important role during a time of tough decisions and political divisions.