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Many believe that taxes paid at the gas pump are what financially support roads, bridges, buses, trains and other public transit. While it is true that gas tax revenues are used to build and maintain transportation infrastructure, this revenue stream is no longer sufficient to pay for public transportation needs. Several states have begun to explore alternatives to the gas tax, such as the road usage charge—also known as the mileage-based user fee and the Vehicle Miles Traveled method. This eCademy session from The Council of State Governments West provided an overview of the road usage charge, as well as an update on how pilot programs are beginning to take shape in a few Western states.

Eight states passed gas tax increases in 2015, while a variety of others took other actions to shore up transportation revenues. But 2016 could also see a large number of states join the club even after Congress approved a federal surface transportation bill late last year. At least seven states appear poised to consider gas tax increases. Others are actively exploring tolling or other revenue options. During this annual CSG eCademy session, transportation experts, state house and political beat reporters discuss how transportation funding might fare in 2016 legislative sessions across the country.

Product stewardship laws have a goal of reducing the environmental, safety and health impacts of consumer products. These laws typically focus on the end-of-life management of these products and generally require the manufacturers to take responsibility for recycling or safely disposing of these products when consumers cease using them. This FREE eCademy webcast featured Chaz Miller, director of policy and advocacy for the National Association of Waste and Recycling, who discussed emerging issues and trends in product stewardship laws in the states.

For decades, Iowa has served as the national kickoff event for the presidential election season, hosting the first caucus of the year. But who actually informs the process? Iowa hardly provides a demographic snapshot of the nation--with a population that is 94% white and with high proportions of Evangelical Christians. Who are the Iowa caucusgoers who set the stage for the national presidential election season? Here's a snapshot of who participates in the Iowa Caucuses.

Produced water is a term used to describe water trapped in underground formations that is brought to the surface during oil and gas exploration and production. Because the water has been in contact with the hydrocarbon-bearing formation for centuries, it carries some of the chemical characteristics of the formation and the hydrocarbon itself. Produced water may include water from the reservoir, water injected into the formation, and any chemicals added during the drilling, production, and treatment processes. Often, produced water is regarded as wastewater, but if managed as a resource rather than a waste for disposal, produced water has the potential to be used beneficially, such as helping to alleviate drought and reducing earthquakes caused by waste water injection. This webinar explores alternative uses and factors that influence the demand for alternative uses, as well as environmental concerns posed by produced water.

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