Capitol Comments

From a gas tax repeal in California to a proposed gas tax increase in Missouri and from a lockbox amendment in Connecticut to dueling bonding proposals in Colorado, state ballots this November will include a variety of measures that could have a profound impact on the future of transportation around the country. Transportation is also being raised as an issue in many of the nation’s gubernatorial contests this year. Here’s a roundup of some of the transportation policy-related choices voters will face on Election Day and links to where you can read more.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is out this week with the latest iteration of its guidance on automated vehicle policy. The 3.0 version is entitled “Preparing for the Future of Transportation” and as in past versions, it includes a section that seeks to define the role that state governments should play on the road to automation. In addition to a look at the guidance, I have a variety of links to articles and reports on autonomous vehicle policy and industry developments from the last few months.

This month marked the one-year anniversary of the announcement by Amazon that the company would seek a location for a second headquarters somewhere in North America, bringing with it $5 billion in investment and 50,000 jobs. The announcement sparked an intense competition among communities hoping to land HQ2 and resulted in 238 proposals that earlier this year were narrowed down to 20 finalists. With Amazon now expected to announce a winner before the end of the year, it’s time to check in on where things stand with the search, who’s most likely to come out on top and whether we know any more about the criteria the company will use to make their final decision.  

The first seven months of 2018 have been a time of significant transition for the nation’s largest ride-hailing companies, Lyft and Uber. With new acquisitions, the companies are re-writing their corporate stories and seeking a future as not just tech-enabled taxi services but full-service, multimodal mobility providers. Meanwhile, policymakers around the country are exploring how to address the impacts of ride-hailing on cities, public transit, the ride-hailing workforce, the economy, the taxi industry, equity of access to transportation and other areas. Here’s a look at what’s happening with ride-hailing in a number of states, along with a collection of links to articles on recent industry developments and the latest research on ride-hailing’s impacts and policy implications.

U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster has offered a discussion draft of an infrastructure bill that speaks to a number of longstanding, difficult issues, including the future of the Highway Trust Fund, the short- and long-term future of the federal gas tax and the speed with which transportation projects are delivered. While most predict the bill has little chance of making it all the way through the process this year—at least prior to the midterm election—Shuster said in a statement the discussion draft is “intended to further the national conversation about the current state of America’s infrastructure and highlight some of the major roadblocks to funding and improving our transportation network.”

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