TranspoAdvocate NewsState & Local Funding News
TIAC staff tracks the latest state and local transportation funding news and provides regular updates on TranspoAdvocates News. To contribute to these efforts, contact Carolyn Kramer.
Large trucks on the Indiana Toll Road will see 35-percent fee increases starting Oct. 5 as part of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s (R) plan to increase state transportation funding by an additional $1 billion. The increase, which amended an existing contract and did not require legislative approval, was approved by the Indiana Finance Authority on Sept. 20. Of the new revenue, $790 million would be used for highway improvements, and the remaining funds would go towards airports, broadband access, and hiking, biking and riding trails. Gov. Holcomb stated that this increase will bring the state in line with what neighboring states charge large trucks for toll road usage. Read More>>
West Virginia’s 2017 measure to increase funding by $2.8 billion has enabled hundreds of transportation construction projects to proceed, though setbacks have occurred with two projects that received bids well over original estimates. Read More>>
Fifty percent of Wisconsin’s roads are in poor or mediocre condition, and deteriorating, congested or unsafe roads and bridges are costing drivers $6.8 billion statewide annually, according to a Sept. 18 report released by TRIP. Read More>>
Over 300 bridges in Connecticut are structurally deficient, according to a Sept. 20 report from TRIP. Read More>>
Arkansas state Sen. Breanne Davis (R-Russellville) requested on Sept. 20 that incoming Senate President Jim Hendren (R- Gravette) assist stakeholders and lawmakers with creating a transportation funding proposal ready for introduction when the legislature convenes in January. Read More>>
Kentucky House Transportation Committee Chair Sal Santoro (R- District 60) in an interview with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Sept 12, stressed the need for the state to reform its variable-rate state gas tax formula in order to increase revenue, as well as create a fee for electric and hybrid vehicles. Read More>>
Key leaders from both political parties have expressed support for Missouri’s Proposition D, a measure on the November ballot that could increase the state gas tax by 10 cents-per-gallon. If approved by voters, over $400 million will be generated annually for the state’s transportation infrastructure, about half of what the state needs to close its transportation funding shortfall. Read More>>
Illinois legislative leaders on Aug. 10 were taken on a tour of downstate roads and bridges to illustrate the need for increased transportation funding. Another tour highlighting the state’s urban roads is planned by the Transportation for Illinois Coalition on Sept. 17. Read More>>
After their lawsuit to stop Missouri’s gas tax increase question from going on the Nov. 6 ballot was rejected by two state courts, conservative activist Ron Calzone and State Representative Mike Moon (R-Ash Grove) are petitioning the Missouri Supreme Court to hear their case. Both argue that the measure is unconstitutional because it touches on multiple issues and was rushed through the legislative process. They face a deadline of Sept. 28, after which a court decision cannot affect the appearance of the measure on the ballot. Read More>>
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) signed legislation into law on Aug. 29 to increase transportation funding by $200 million annually. The package will provide revenue through a variety of measures, including a portion of a settlement with BP over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill off the coast of Mississippi; a newly-created state lottery; $300 million in bonds; a $150 annual electric vehicle registration fee and $75 hybrid vehicle registration fee; 35 percent of sales tax revenue from online purchases; and taxes on newly-legalized sports betting in casinos. The legislation also requires counties to provide a match for the state use tax money. Read More>>
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb proposed a plan on Sept. 4 that would provide $1 billion in new transportation funding by increasing toll rates by 35 percent for heavy vehicles. Of that revenue, $790 million would be used for highway improvements, and the remaining funds would go towards airports, broadband access, and hiking, biking and riding trails. The plan, which would amend an existing contract with the Indiana Toll Road Concession Company, would not require legislative approval. Read More>>
Louisiana Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson warned in a radio interview Sept. 3 that the state is in jeopardy of losing federal transportation funds because it does not have the revenue to meet its match requirement. Read More>>
The South Carolina Department of Transportation will begin a pilot program later this year that will transfer certain state roads to local governments that volunteer to participate. For each transfer the state will provide enough revenue to maintain the road for 40 years, after which the locality assumes all costs associated with the road. While this will enable local governments to manage repaving and improvements, some voiced concerns about the long-term funding needed to maintain the infrastructure. About two dozen municipalities indicated intent to apply for the program. South Carolina approved a state gas tax increase in 2017, but the revenue falls short of what the state needs to restore the whole road system to good condition. Read More>>
On Aug. 22 a Colorado measure to utilize $3.5 billion in bonds for transportation improvements was added to the upcoming Nov. 6 general election ballot. The citizen-initiated proposal exceed the required 98,492 qualifying signatures required. Another measure that would increase the state sales tax by 0.62 percent to raise $6 billion for transportation investment bonds is still being reviewed for qualifying signatures by the Secretary of State’s office. If they appear on the ballot, voters could choose to approve both, only one and reject the other, or reject both. Read More>>
- Aug. 24 Update: On Aug. 23 the sales tax measure also received approval to appear on the general election ballot. Both measures will be considered by voters on Nov. 6.
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) convened a special legislative session on Aug. 23 to address the state’s transportation funding shortfall. Lawmakers will first consider the “Mississippi Infrastructure Modernization Act”, a proposal by the governor for new taxes or fees on internet sales, sports betting, electric and hybrid vehicles and a state lottery in order to provide over $200 million annually for needed road and bridge repairs. Read More>>
- Aug. 24 Update: The Mississippi Senate on Aug. 23 voted 30-20 to approve a measure that could create a state lottery for transportation improvements over the next 10 years. If approved by the House and governor the measure could generate $40 million in its first year and $80 million annually for each subsequent year. The House approved a bill on the same day to utilize 35 percent of the state internet and catalog sales tax for city and county road and bridge funding, which could generate $110 million annually once fully implemented in 2022. This measure will now go before the Senate for consideration. Read More>>
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) received approval from the Legislative Council on Aug. 17 to transfer $21.9 million from the state’s rainy day fund to provide a required match for $200 million in federal transportation funds. The state department of transportation already had the remaining $28.1 million— $20 million from the treasury’s interest earnings and $8.1 million from diesel and sales taxes— ready to complete the $50 million match requirement. Read More>>
A challenge that would have prevented a measure to increase Missouri’s gas tax by 10 cents-per-gallon from appearing on the November ballot was dismissed on Aug. 14 by Associate Circuit Judge Robert Schollmeyer. State Rep. Mike Moon (R-Ash Grove) and Ron Calzone contend the measure is unconstitutional because it touches on multiple issues and was rushed through the legislative process. Read More>>
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s (R) administration announced Aug. 13 their recommendation to utilize $200 million annual revenue generated by the state’s new 6 percent online sales tax for road repairs. The final decision on how to utilize the new funding would be up to the state legislature. Read More>>
The California Transportation Commission on Aug. 20 approved funding for more than 100 projects that will improve pavement, bridges, culverts and intelligent transportation systems. Revenue for these projects was partially obtained from the state’s 2017 transportation funding legislation that increased the state motor fuel tax and raised transportation-related taxes and fees. The legislation is facing a challenge on the November general election ballot, which could rescind the gas tax increase. Read More>>
New Jersey budget officials may authorize an increase of the state gas tax to ensure that revenue generated from the tax is sufficient to meet the state’s Transportation Trust Fund needs. Legislation approved in 2016 increased the tax on petroleum products gross receipts by 12.5 percent, charged as a 23 cent-per-gallon increase on gasoline and a 27 cent-per-gallon increase on diesel fuel, with the authority to adjust the cap annually based on the state’s transportation infrastructure needs. Read More>>
West Virginia Department of Transportation Secretary Tom Smith warned on July 30 that rising construction material costs could affect the scope of work able to be completed through the Roads to Prosperity Amendment of 2017, the $1.6 billion transportation bond approved by voters in October 2017. Read More>>
By Mark Holan, editorial director, ARTBA
“Fix the Damn Roads” is the top priority for the winner of Michigan’s Aug. 7, Democratic primary for governor.
“While politicians in Lansing (the state capital) vote down road funding solutions for political gain, the dire state of our highways is endangering our people and getting in the way of our economic prosperity,” Gretchen Whitmer, a former leader in the Michigan State Senate, says in the issues section of her website.
“We’re going to fix our roads the right way, the first time — with high-quality material and mix, so that we get the job done right,” her policy statement continues.
Bill Schuette, the state’s former attorney general, won the Republican primary. Roads, bridges and other transportation needs are not among the issues in “Bill’s Plan” on his campaign website.
Schuette has said he would order a review of the Michigan Department of Transportation and how it allocates dollars. He also has pledged to devote to roads any savings from the recent repeal of the state’s prevailing wage law for construction workers, which had guaranteed union-level pay on government building projects, but usually not roads, according to The Detroit News.
Whitmer is among 11 women nominated for governorships this year. Thirty-six states have governor races on Nov. 6.
This article was originally posted to ARTBA’s ‘Washington Newsline‘ on Aug. 10.