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With growing mass transit needs and uncertainty about the future of federal funding, states like Georgia and Colorado look for new solutions to expand and maintain their transit systems. It has been suggested that the federal infrastructure investment President Donald Trump campaigned on could attract $1 trillion from the private sector. But his budget proposal shows federal cuts to transit, placing much of the responsibility for funding transit projects on localities...

In February 2016, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo signed into law a plan to spend $4.8 billion on state infrastructure over the next 10 years. RhodeWorks, as the plan is known, received significant attention for including a new funding mechanism—tolls on heavy commercial trucks—and a focus on bringing the state’s aging bridges up to snuff.

The Trump administration’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Accord has galvanized climate action at the state and local level. A group of 12 states have formed a coalition, called the United States Climate Alliance, to meet Paris climate commitments and fill the void left by the U.S. government.

Last week President Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Accord, citing the “draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement poses on our country.” The decision to withdraw from the agreement—a major international treaty to address climate change—is going to have broad policy and environmental impact on the global stage.

If the recent pattern holds, 2017 could end up being a big year for state transportation funding efforts. In 2013, six states approved major transportation packages. In 2015, eight states followed suit. The intervening even-numbered years saw less activity, perhaps owing to shorter legislative sessions in some states and re-election concerns. But transportation policy analysts are confident this year won’t buck the odd-number year trend for a simple reason: It’s time.

President Donald Trump’s promise to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure has raised the nation’s awareness about infrastructure needs in all 50 states. Above and beyond the desire or need for infrastructure additions, it’s clear that the crumbling and aging bridges, roads, water pipes and buildings currently in place need attention. The American Society of Civil Engineers recently graded the nation’s infrastructure at a D+; the same as it was the previous year.

Money flowing into states from the federal government—either to individuals or through state and local governments—has a big impact on a state’s economy. In 2015, federal spending made up 19 percent of state economic activity, or gross domestic product (GDP). In five states—Alabama, Mississippi, New Mexico, Virginia and West Virginia—federal spending was 30 percent or more of GDP in 2015.

energy and environment

The Trump administration released its first full fiscal budget for 2018, called the “Taxpayer First” Budget, this week. As expected, the budget delivers a gut-punch to several energy and environment programs within the Department of Energy, or DOE, and the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA. Furthermore, the steep cuts proposed in the budget could eventually be magnified in a sort of double whammy to state efforts to protect the environment and transition to cleaner sources of energy.

K-12 public education in the U.S. is funded primarily by state and local governments. In fact, only about 8 percent of elementary and secondary education spending comes from the federal government.

CSG South

This SLC Special Series Report, the first part in a series, examines wind energy in the Southern region.

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