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.

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. 

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee this week released and marked-up its bipartisan, six-year transportation bill before moving the bill forward. Now comes the hard part of trying to come up with the money to fund the bill and to tackle the looming shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund. Meanwhile President Obama and Vice President Biden both took to the road this week to put the focus on infrastructure investment. And a chorus of voices grew louder that perhaps the best way to make it happen is the most obvious—increasing the federal gas tax. I also have the usual roundup of news and links on state activity on transportation revenues, public-private partnerships and tolling, and state multi-modal strategies in this special, super-sized, Infrastructure Week edition of the blog.

New Hampshire’s first gas tax increase in more than 20 years won final approval in the state legislature this week. Meanwhile, the defeat of a ballot measure to increase sales taxes and enact a car tab fee to fund transit service in Seattle’s King County means residents will see cuts in bus service hours just as ridership is on the rise. Plus, just as the Highway Trust Fund gets ready to run dry, there are renewed concerns about the condition of bridges in the United States. I also have the usual updates and 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. And I have news about a worthwhile conference you’ll want to add to your summer travels.

Leaders of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee announced this week they have agreed in principle on how to proceed with the next federal surface transportation authorization bill, the successor to 2012’s MAP-21. I also have the usual roundup of links on the future of the Highway Trust Fund, state activity on transportation revenues, public-private partnerships and tolling and state multi-modal strategies.

In Marvin M. Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States the Court held 8-1 that a private party, rather than the federal government, owns an abandoned railroad right-of-way granted by the General Railroad Right-of-Way Act of 1875.  When the federal government owns abandoned railroad rights-of-way, state and local governments may convert them into “Rails-to-Trails.”  The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) filed an amicus curiae brief in this case.

Leaders in Washington State say a transportation funding package is dead for this legislative session, putting in jeopardy a number of mega-projects many say the state needs. I also have items this week on the nation’s road spending priorities and a reported uptick in transit ridership. Plus the usual updates on MAP-21 reauthorization, state transportation funding efforts, public-private partnerships, and state multi-modal strategies.

Day two of the CSG Transportation Policy Academy in Washington, D.C. included a transportation policy roundtable featuring a variety of transportation stakeholders and experts. Among them was Brian Pallasch, Managing Director for Government Relations and Infrastructure Initiatives at the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). He spoke about ASCE’s 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure.

The passage of MAP-21, the federal surface transportation authorization bill, in 2012 brought with it a host of policy changes but little in the way of long-term funding security for states trying to meet their growing infrastructure needs. Perhaps partially in reaction, an unprecedented number of states—including Missouri—explored new transportation revenue options in 2013. Meanwhile, bridge collapses earlier this year in Washington state and Missouri once again brought into sharp focus what’s at stake in finding new funding to fix old facilities. This session explored how Missouri is hoping to shape its transportation future, how a new emphasis on performance measurement under MAP-21 will impact states and how the state of the nation’s aging infrastructure makes it a critical time for transportation policy.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments recognizes that the New International Trade Crossing is vital to ensuring the ongoing viability of existing trade between the United States and Canada and will lay the foundation for future productivity, growth and economic stability of local economies across the Midwest.

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