While August was a time of summer vacations for many, for me the month disappeared in a blur of CSG meetings in far-flung places like Baltimore, Seattle and Anchorage (which is why the blog has been on an extended hiatus since my last post on July 25). Now with Congress set to return next week and the days of summer dwindling to a precious few, it’s time to round up the transportation stories you may have missed while you were catching rays on the beach or joining CSG for an Alaskan adventure last month. I have a look at the Missouri vote on a sales tax increase to fund transportation and the temporary reprieve for the federal Highway Trust Fund, plus links to a huge variety of stories on state transportation revenue activities, public-private partnerships, transit projects, high-speed rail and other topics.
This session featured discussion about Alaska’s unique transportation portfolio and how some key state projects and programs are helping the state plan for the future in uncertain times; the future of tolling and public-private partnerships; a new report on how states and communities can incorporate analysis of the life cycle costs of transportation projects into decision-making to maximize infrastructure investments; and government initiatives and partnerships with the private sector to ensure a future for electric and alternative fuel vehicles in the United States.
Punting the football… Kicking the can down the road… Hitting the snooze button… Still driving blind… Road to nowhere… Spinning wheels… Riding on four flat tires… Pick your favorite metaphor and it’s probably been used to describe the House-approved temporary fix that the U.S. Senate appears poised to pass next week to rescue the dwindling federal Highway Trust Fund and ensure reimbursements for transportation projects will continue to go out to states through next May. It’s a plan that no one seems to like, that mostly prolongs the uncertainty states have faced in recent years with regards to the federal transportation program and that sets up another battle for next spring, albeit in what could be a substantially different looking new Congress. I also have a look this week at President Obama’s Build America Investment Initiative and a super-sized roundup of links from the last three weeks on reauthorization of MAP-21, the future of the Highway Trust Fund, state activity on transportation revenues, public-private partnerships and tolling and state multi-modal strategies.
As states continue to experience infrastructure deficits and uncertainty about how those needs will be met going forward, public-private partnerships (P3s) have become an important tool in the toolbox for some when it comes to project finance and delivery. But the types of projects being pursued and the types of agreements states are entering into with the private sector have evolved considerably in recent years. Past experiences have made both states and private investors more discerning and deliberative partners. Federal tools such as the TIFIA loan guarantee program have helped many large P3 projects advance but doubts about the future of the federal transportation program overall have prompted some states to hesitate in pursuing many large, long-term projects.
The U.S. Department of Transportation is putting the procedures in place and giving notice to state transportation agencies about what could happen if Congress does not act in the coming weeks to shore up the Highway Trust Fund, which is headed towards insolvency later this summer. I also have a roundup of this week’s other stories and links concerning MAP-21 reauthorization, the future of the trust fund, state activity on transportation revenue, public-private partnerships and tolling, and state multi-modal strategies.
The Senate Finance Committee Thursday began consideration of a proposal to keep the Highway Trust Fund temporarily afloat but left town for the 4th of July holiday break without voting on the measure as chairman Ron Wyden sought to gain support of Senate Republicans. I also have my usual weekly roundup of news items and links on MAP-21 reauthorization, the future of the HTF, state activity on transportation revenues, public-private partnerships and tolling, and state multi-modal strategies.
The seemingly endless winter of 2013-14 was a record-breaking one in many states and led to enormous expenditures on road maintenance as state departments of transportation tried to keep roads clear for travelers. Road salt became a hot commodity and there were numerous reports of shortages. Some states could continue to feel the fiscal impact of the winter of 2013-14 for some time to come. That’s particularly worrisome as uncertainty about the future of transportation funding continues at the federal level.
Two U.S. Senators offered a bipartisan plan this week to raise the federal gas tax by 12 cents a gallon over the next two years and then index the tax to inflation. Also, Rhode Island lawmakers passed a budget that got rid of a bridge toll but also increased and indexed the state gas tax and created a new transportation fund. I also have the usual roundup of news and links on MAP-21 reauthorization, the future of the Highway Trust Fund, state activity on transportation revenues, public-private partnerships and tolling, and state...
The Michigan Legislature adjourned Thursday for most of the summer without voting on a plan to increase the gas tax to fix deteriorating roads and bridges. Also this week, following Tuesday’s loss by U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a Virginia primary race, the jury is out on how it will impact getting a new federal surface transportation authorization bill and a Highway Trust Fund bailout in place this summer but most signs appeared to point toward a short-term solution with hopes that lawmakers could tackle something more long-term in a lame duck session following the election. I’ve also got the usual roundup of items and links on reauthorization, the trust fund, state activity on transportation revenues, public-private partnerships and tolling, and state multi-modal strategies.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden said this week his panel is hard at work considering options for saving the Highway Trust Fund from pending insolvency and he hopes to pass a bill out of the committee before the Senate adjourns for its July 4 recess. But the Senate is unlikely to consider a House Republican plan that would rely on savings from changes at the U.S. Postal Service, which continued to receive skepticism this week. And the closing of a bridge along a major artery in Delaware this week demonstrates what’s at stake in trying to find ways to invest in the nation’s infrastructure. I also have the usual round-up of links to items on MAP-21 reauthorization and the future of the Highway Trust Fund, state activity on transportation revenues, public-private partnerships and tolling and state multi-modal strategies.