- Minnesota Mark Dayton (D) approved the state department of transportation’s budget on April 3, allowing the agency to utilize $105 million in federal funding approved by the FAST Act to complete over 28 highway, road and bridge projects. Lawmakers will now turn their attention toward reaching a compromise on increasing state transportation funding.
Approved by Legislature
- California lawmakers approved a $52.4 billion transportation funding plan on April 6, including a motor fuel tax increase and higher vehicle registration fees. (Read the full synopsis of the bill on the TIAC blog.)
- Alabama lawmakers introduced House Bill 487 on April 6 to issue a $1.2 billion bond for counties and cities and $1.2 billion bond for the Alabama Department of Transportation. The bonds would be funded with a gradual 6 cents-per-gallon motor fuel tax increase, with the possibility of a future additional 3 cents-per-gallon “conditional” motor fuel tax increase. The bill would also impose tag fees on alternative fuel vehicles. All revenue would be spent on roads and bridges, with the plan of raising enough revenue to provide a match for future federal funding.
- A Louisiana bill to increase the state motor fuel tax by 7 cents-per-gallon was prefiled on March 31.
- Two Louisiana lawmakers announced on April 5 their intention to introduce separate transportation funding bills, one of which could increase the state gas tax by 17 cents-per-gallon.
- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) plan to borrow additional money for transportation funding and delay road construction projects was rejected by the Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee on April 6. Many state lawmakers are instead calling for a long-term transportation funding solution.
Existing Legislation Progress
- West Virginia House lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a bill April 7 that asks voters to authorize the legislature to bond up to $1.6 billion for road work. The measure had been approved by the Senate in March, but House committee amendments included language that could permit the legislature to collect a state tax to pay the interest and principal of the bond, not to exceed 25 years.
- The Colorado House advanced a measure on March 31 to ask voters for approval of a 0.62-cent statewide sales tax increase in order to generate $695 million for transportation funding over the next 20 years. Lawmakers approved the bill 41-24 largely along party lines, with four Republicans joining Democrats in support of the bill. The legislation has been assigned to the Senate Transportation Committee.
- On April 4 the Indiana Senate voted 34-13 to advance an amended version of the legislature’s transportation funding plan. The bill still includes a gradual 10 cents-per-gallon gasoline tax increase, indexed to adjust annually according to changes in the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (capped at a 1 cent increase per year), and raises the special fuel tax and surcharge tax. Both plans also create a Transportation Infrastructure Improvement Fee based on vehicle weight and an additional fee of $150 for electric vehicles and $75 for hybrid vehicles, indexed to increase every five years. The Senate version adds a cigarette tax (a proposal Gov. Eric Holcomb (R ) is opposed to), phasing out a moratorium on corporate income taxes, and a requirement that Indiana businesses and workers get priority on projects. The plan now goes to conference committee to negotiate a compromise.
- The Oklahoma Senate Appropriations Committee recommended a bill on April 5 to establish a $150 electric vehicle fee and $30 hybrid vehicle fee. The bill was passed by the House on March 8.
- On April 6 South Carolina senators ensured that House Bill 3516 would receive priority status when the legislature reconvenes on April 18, which will bring it up for debate on the Senate floor.
- Tennessee’s IMPROVE Act is on the April 11 calendar for approval in the House and Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee.
Visit TIAC’s “State Legislation Page” to view all state transportation funding legislation under consideration in 2017.