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.

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.

Day two of the 2014 CSG Transportation Policy Academy in Washington, DC began with a morning-long policy roundtable featuring transportation stakeholders, experts, analysts and advocates. The group included speakers from the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Trucking Associations, the Center for American Progress, the Heritage Foundation, the Bipartisan Policy Center and Transportation for America. Topics include the condition of the nation’s infrastructure, states and the future of transportation funding, mileage-based user fees, a proposal to eliminate much of the federal gas tax and give states much of the responsibility for raising transportation revenues and making investment decisions, and the future of the federal-state-local partnership in transportation. This page includes excerpts of remarks by speakers and attendees, photos, PowerPoint presentations and additional resources and links from the event.

The 2014 CSG Transportation Policy Academy in Washington, D.C. got underway September 15 with a bus tour of key Northern Virginia transportation projects. Officials from the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority were on board to lead the tour, which highlighted the operational toll Express Lanes on the Capital Beltway, soon-to-open Express Lanes on I-95, and the Silver Line Metro, which is reshaping development in the Tysons Corner area. This page includes a compendium of photos, presentations, and links related to the tour.

Nine state legislators from around the country, many of them transportation committee chairs, attended the invitation-only CSG Transportation Policy Academy September 15-17, 2014 in Washington, D.C. The event included a tour of transportation projects in Northern Virginia and a panel focused on how states like Virginia and Maryland have made use of public-private partnerships in transportation. Attendees took part in a roundtable with transportation stakeholders, experts and advocates including speakers from the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Trucking Associations, the Heritage Foundation, the Center for American Progress, the Bipartisan Policy Center and Transportation for America. Lawmakers also had the opportunity to meet with members of Congress and officials at the U.S. Department of Transportation. They visited the Washington office of the American Society of Civil Engineers and heard talks by former D.C. Planning Director Harriet Tregoning, who now directs the Office of Economic Resilience at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Joshua Schank, President & CEO of the Eno Center for Transportation, a Washington-based think tank. Topics included the condition of the nation’s infrastructure, the federal role in transportation and state transportation funding initiatives. This page includes links to additional pages highlighting various portions of the policy academy and including extended remarks from speakers and participants, additional resources and links for further reading.

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.

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