Two new reports and a variety of recent developments in states lay bare the challenges of relying on the gas tax as a revenue source to meet transportation needs. I also have updates on some of my “States to Watch in 2015” and the usual roundup of recent items on MAP-21 reauthorization, public-private-partnerships and tolling, and state multi-modal activities.
Following the deluge of major transportation funding packages passed by states in 2013, elections and other factors combined to make 2014 a somewhat quieter year on that front. But as 2015 legislative sessions approach, a large number of states appear poised to tackle transportation funding. While some states are holdovers from years past as a result of previously unsuccessful efforts, there are also a handful of relative newcomers to the list this year. Their reasons for addressing the issue now and the urgency with which they are approaching it may vary, but there are plenty of common justifications and common solutions that already appear to be emerging.
From key changes in Congress and state capitols to statewide and local ballot measures, Tuesday was a pivotal Election Day when it comes to transportation. I have some thoughts on the significance of this year’s batch of state and local ballot measures, a roundup of all the results, and links to information about the potential impact of the changes on Capitol Hill, in governor’s mansions and elsewhere. Plus, as always, news, links and new reports on MAP-21 reauthorization and the future of the Highway Trust Fund, state transportation funding activities, public-private partnerships and tolling, and state multi-modal strategies.
Voters in several states will consider the fate of transportation-related ballot measures in next week’s election. I have a refresher on the statewide measures in play as well as some local and county ballot measures to watch. Plus a number of items on how transportation is playing as an issue in a number of fall campaigns and how it could be on the agenda for state legislatures next year. As always, I also have my regular roundup of items on the future of the federal transportation program, state transportation funding efforts, public-private partnerships and tolling and state multi-modal strategies.
Transportation for America is a Washington, DC-based alliance of elected, business and civic leaders from around the country that advocates for locally driven transportation solutions as a key to economic prosperity. Next month in Denver, the organization will host a two-day conference entitled “Capital Ideas: Raising Money for Transportation Through Innovative State Legislation” (register here; see full agenda here). The conference, which is geared towards state legislators and others, will look back on the experiences of states that have recently had success in passing transportation funding measures, examine innovative state policies and provide a how-to guide for policymakers on messaging, campaign strategy and coalition building to move funding initiatives forward. Transportation for America Director James Corless discussed the conference in this recent interview, portions of which also appear in the October 23rd edition of the CSG Capitol Ideas E-Newsletter.
From tolling to gas taxes to light rail transit projects, transportation issues are factoring into numerous 2014 state races as Election Day approaches. One example is the question of how to fund the replacement of a bridge over the Ohio River, which has come up as an issue in both Ohio and Kentucky. I also have updates this week on the chances for a new long-term federal transportation bill, the work of several state transportation funding committees, the evolution of public-private partnerships and the debate over streetcar systems and other transit projects in many communities.
The operator of the Indiana Toll Road announced this month it would seek bankruptcy protection with a creditor-supported restructuring plan. While the toll road was one of the first transportation public-private partnerships (P3s) in this country, it hasn’t really proven to be the model for other P3s as some believed it would. And, at least for now, it appears the bankruptcy will have little impact either on motorists who use the facility or on the burgeoning P3 industry in the United States. I also have a roundup of recent reports from the American Society of Civil Engineers and Eno Center for Transportation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. Plus the usual collection of links on MAP-21 reauthorization, the future of the Highway Trust Fund, state transportation funding initiatives, P3s and tolling and state multi-modal strategies.
Congress’ decision this summer to once again tap general funds to temporarily patch up the dwindling federal Highway Trust Fund loomed large over discussions at the 2014 CSG Transportation Policy Academy, held Sept. 15-17 in Washington, D.C. But the nine state legislators who attended the event also heard about plenty of innovation going on in states and communities around the country.
The 2014 CSG Transportation Policy Academy in Washington, D.C. wrapped up September 17 with a listening session at the U.S. Department of Transportation. Carlos Monje, counselor to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, and others were on hand to talk about federal transportation programs and to field questions and comments from the state legislators in attendance. Monje has recently been nominated for the post of Assistant Secretary for Policy at DOT. The wide-ranging discussion focused on such topics as efforts to push for a long-term transportation bill, the success of the federal TIGER program, public-private partnerships and mileage-based user fees. This page includes selected excerpts from participants in the meeting and links to additional resources on some of the topics discussed.
Day three of the 2014 CSG Transportation Policy Academy in Washington, D.C. began with a briefing on public-private partnerships (P3s). State legislators attending the academy heard from Thomas Halloran of the Maryland Department of Transportation’s Innovative Finance Office about the state’s exploration of a P3 to build the Purple Line light rail project in the D.C. suburbs. Douglas Koelemay, the Director of the Virginia Office of Public-Private Partnerships, spoke about his state’s extensive experience on P3s on projects like the Capital Beltway Express Lanes and how the Virginia P3 program may change going forward. And Jonathan Gifford from the Center for Transportation Public-Private Partnership Policy at George Mason University discussed trends in the evolution of P3s around the country and emerging best practices in P3s for states. This page includes highlights of the speakers’ remarks, photos from the event, presentations and related resources and links.