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.
Since the start of 2017, TIAC has tracked 104 transportation funding bills being considered in 32 states. This number closely matches the amount of legislation TIAC tracked over the same time period in 2015 and 2016, and is projected to grow as new bills are introduced throughout the year.
Motor fuel taxes remain the most popular revenue proposal vehicle in 2017, with 34 bills introduced in 18 states that include a motor fuel tax increase. Non-fuel tax recurring funding is the second most proposed topic, with 26 bills including either registration fee increases, tolling, sales taxes, license and weight fees, or another source of revenue that would continually contribute to the state’s transportation fund. Local funding and electric vehicle fees are also popular transportation revenue topics this legislative session.
Transportation funding continues to be a bipartisan issue. Republican state lawmakers have introduced 59 bills to-date, while Democratic state lawmakers have introduced 24 bills. Of the motor fuel tax increases, 16 were introduced by Republican lawmakers and 13 were introduced by Democratic lawmakers.
TIAC staff tracks state legislative and ballot measures throughout the year, and provides a monthly report with the latest developments to increase state transportation funding. TIAC tracked over 90 bills in 39 states during the 2016 legislative session. To access historical reports, or to view the live map that tracks developments as they happen, visit the ‘State Legislation’ page of TIAC’s website, www.transportationinvestment.org. To receive updates of the report subscribe to “TranspoAdvocates News”.
Have we missed any state transportation funding legislation? To provide feedback on the report or contribute to this effort, contact Carolyn Kramer.
Minnesota House Republicans unveiled a new transportation funding proposal on March 21 that would impose a $75 surcharge on electric car owners and divert taxes on car parts and car rentals, which currently are deposited in the General Fund, for transportation investment. Several bills to increase revenue for the state’s transportation infrastructure have already been introduced this year, including bills to raise the state motor fuel tax. Read More>>
A diverse coalition of 40 organizations is calling on Connecticut lawmakers to pass a transportation fund “lockbox” this legislative session in order to protect transportation-related revenue from being diverted for other purposes. Read More>>
State Transportation Funding Legislation Progress the Week of March 20 – 24:
- Utah Gary Herbert (R) on March 21 signed into law a bill that will move up the implementation date of the state’s variable-rate gas to when the average wholesale price (AWP) of motor fuel reaches $1.78 per gallon. The variable-rate tax, approved in 2015 transportation funding legislation, was previously scheduled to take effect when the AWP reached $2.45 per gallon. The 2017 addition also raises the variable-rate from 12 percent to 16.5 percent of the AWP of motor fuel within the state.
- Two Wyoming bills became law without Gov. Matthew Mead’s (R) approval. The bills will increase vehicle registration fees, commercial vehicle weight fees, and license fees. While the bills are projected to provide $22.5 million annually, they are accompanied by a $24.5 million cut in General Fund appropriations to the transportation fund. Gov. Mead cited this when he declined to sign the bills. The bills went into effect without the governor’s approval on March 20.
Other Bill Progress:
- Tennessee’s IMPROVE Act continues to advance through committees in the state legislature. The bill received approval from the Senate Local Government Committee on March 21.
- A Colorado proposal to increase the state sales tax by 0.62 percent cleared its first hurdle and passed the House Transportation and Energy Committee with a vote of 8-5 on March 22.
- An Idaho bill to utilize $300 million in Grant Anticipation Revenue (GARVEE) bonds failed to get enough support when the Senate voted on March 22. With 15 in favor but 20 opposed, the bill will not advance to the House. The delay in transportation funding action, considered a priority by legislative leaders, is one factor contributing to lawmakers’ decision to postpone a March 24 scheduled adjournment until resolution can be reached.
- The Ohio Senate approved a transportation budget bill that permits counties to levy an addition motor vehicle registration tax (subject to voter approval). The bill now goes to the House.
- An Arkansas bill to earmark existing internet sales tax revenue for transportation investment passed its first committee on March 21.
By Eileen Houlihan, senior writer/editor, ARTBA
A new ARTBA analysis shows how economic activity can be more than doubled by increasing state-level transportation infrastructure investment.
In Kansas, an annual $264 million increase in highway and bridge investment would support nearly $600 million of activity throughout all sectors of the state economy, according to the analysis by ARTBA Chief Economist Dr. Alison Premo Black. The additional demand, in turn, would also support or create 5,000 jobs—with over half being in sectors outside of the construction industry.
The analysis shows how the impacts of transportation capital investments trigger immediate economic activity, including cost savings for drivers, and new and sustained jobs, while yielding long-lived capital assets that facilitate economic activity for decades to come.
Black testified March 23 before a Kansas state legislature hearing about the report’s findings. The study was commissioned by the Kansas Contractors Association.
Research shows that the economic return for every $1 invested in transportation infrastructure improvements can range up to $5.20. For drivers in Kansas, this could add up to as much as $1.3 billion in savings, plus the additional benefits of improving access to critical facilities like schools and hospitals or increases in business productivity, Black said.
The annual $264 million investment also would help restore some of the recent cuts to the Kansas highway program. State lawmakers are currently considering several bills to raise new transportation revenue.
Read ARTBA’s full news release.
March 20: View the Agenda for the 4th Annual “National Workshop for State & Local Transportation Advocates”
Business professionals and public officials are once again coming together this summer to share best practices, playbook secrets and other keys to success in advancing legislative and ballot initiatives that boost transportation infrastructure investment. Join us for the 4th Annual “National Workshop for State & Local Transportation Advocates”, a signature program of the Transportation Investment Advocacy Center™ (TIAC). The July 12 event will highlight recent transportation funding initiatives—both successful and unsuccessful—as well as new research and analysis. Attendees will walk away with the tools they need to advance state and local transportation funding in their own state.
The workshop will feature sessions that explore the various ways states raise revenue for transportation projects, including the strengths and challenges of the different methods states use to levy motor fuel taxes, and what alternative transportation funding options states are utilizing to increase transportation funding.
ARTBA Chief Economist Dr. Alison Premo Black will provide a comprehensive report on recent state and local transportation funding trends, as well as preview November 2017 ballot measures.
Other key sessions include:
- “Federal Transportation Funding Developments”
- “2016-2017 State Transportation Funding Roundtable”
- “2013 State Gas Tax Increases: Where are They Now?”
- “State Transportation Funding Champion Legislators”
- “Building America’s Economic Expressway Campaign”
The annual meeting of the “Transportation Investment Advocates Council”™ will take place the evening before the workshop. Council members will discuss recent business and new projects, and will take part in an informal networking reception that will enable peer-to-peer information exchange.
Over 100 transportation construction executives, “better roads and transportation” professionals, state legislators, and chamber of commerce officials from 30 states participated in 2016’s workshop.
The Workshop is being held in conjunction with ARTBA’s Public-Private Partnerships (P3) in Transportation Conference at the Hyatt Regency Washington in Washington, D.C.
Louisiana lawmakers are preparing a proposal to increase the state gas tax by up to 17 cents-per-gallon, which would generate an additional $500 million annually in transportation funding. The state legislature convenes April 10. Read More>>
A measure to expand California’s transportation fund “lockbox” to protect additional revenue sources—vehicle license fees, vehicle weight fees, and motor fuel taxes used for vehicles outside of public roads— from diversion to non-transportation related programs is currently advancing in the state legislature. The lockbox (approved by voters in November 2010) currently protects revenue from vehicle registration fees and motor fuel taxes used by vehicles on public streets and highways. Read More>>
The Idaho Senate Transportation Committee on March 16 voted to advance $300 million in Grant Anticipation Revenue (GARVEE) Bonds for transportation projects. A larger bill that would have permitted up to $500 million in bonds failed. Read More>>
Other transportation funding measures that advanced this week include:
- Two Indiana State Senate committees plan to vote on House Bill 1002 next week. The bill has already been approved by the House.
- In South Carolina, House Bill 3516 advanced through the Senate Finance Committee with a vote of 14-8 on March 15. The bill was approved by the House on March 1.
- Senate Bill 477 in West Virginia received its first round of approval on March 14 by the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. It now goes to the Senate Finance Committee.
- The New Jersey Senate voted 34-1 on March 13 to approve an additional $400 million for transportation projects, with $260 million allocated to roads and bridges and $140 million for NJ Transit. The extra revenue, the result of the 2016 state gas tax increase, would come from the state’s transportation fund.
At least 29 states are considered over 90 measures to increase transportation funding this year. Visit the ‘State Legislation’ page for state information and bill details.