Administration and Finance

Charging motorists on a per mile basis has gained some traction in recent years as a potential revenue mechanism to replace state and federal fuel taxes. Pilot projects to test VMT systems in many states are helping to define how they would work.

State eNews Issue #39 | February 3, 2010
Even though 40 states and Washington, D.C., competed for a piece of more than $8 billion available in the Recovery Act for high-speed rail, according to the Federal Railroad Administration, only three states walked away big winners. California, Florida and Illinois were the only states awarded more than $1 billion each in funding Jan. 28 for fast trains.

Nationwide marketing campaigns and state efforts to seek public input and build trust in transportation decision making are helping to galvanize support for the infrastructure investment many say America needs.

Despite the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, many states are falling short in providing needed investment in the nation's highways and bridges. But some states in 2009 had success in finding revenue sources to fund them.

Even as high-speed rail advanced tremendously in parts of Asia and Europe, rail travel in the United States has languished as the American love affair with the automobile, the impressive interstate highway system and affordable air travel ensured that America’s rail system did not progress into the 21st century. However, this scenario is in the process of undergoing a radical transformation as a result of efforts initiated by the Obama Administration to include $13 billion ($8 billion in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) along with an additional $5 billion spread over the next five years) as seed money to fund up to 11 high-speed rail corridors connecting densely populated areas of the country.

Fiscal conditions in the states began to decline in fiscal 2008. State spending and revenues grew at a lower rate than the prior year and balances were well-below their near record levels of fiscal 2007. While fiscal 2008 saw somewhat moderate declines, the fiscal situation in the states has deteriorated much more sharply in fiscal 2009. State spending is projected to be negative for the first time since 1983, balance levels are being reduced as states use reserves to address shortfalls, and recent data shows state revenues declining by 4 percent. As a result, states are likely to face a difficult budgetary environment in fiscal 2010 and beyond.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Council of State Governments calls on Congress to seize a historic opportunity and pass an adequately funded, multi-modal, multi-year transportation authorization bill to include a focus on all modes of travel as soon as possible, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Council of State Governments commends Congress for transportation and infrastucture funding included as part of the ARRA but expresses disappointment that the funding was not at the level needed to make substantial progress in meeting the nation's transportation infrastructure needs; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Council of State Governments will seek to partner with organizations that share our philosophy about the need for historic investment in the nation's transportation infrastructure in advocacy of these issues before Congress.

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED, The Council of State Governments supports transportation initiatives that incorporate increased intergovernmental participation; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The Council of State Governments supports a multi-modal and regional approach as determined by the affected states when examining issues surrounding transportation and transportation finance; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The Council of State Governments supports an approach to transportation and transportation planning that addresses environmental and economic development concerns.

CSG South

Sujit M. CanagaRetna, Fiscal Policy Manager at the SLC, gave this presentation before the Idaho Senate Task Force on Treasure Valley Transportation Issues in Nampa, Idaho, on December 4, 2007.

The transportation needs of this country are growing. There is increased congestion, an increased demand for public transportation and increasing fuel costs. This increased demand on the transportation system has led to an increased strain on states’ budgets as they also try to fund escalating costs for healthcare and education.