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.
A Wisconsin project to build a $10 billion Foxconn Technology Group plant in the southeast region of the state could reduce road funding for state projects by $90 million, the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau said in a memo to Democratic lawmakers on Feb. 28. Assembly Democratic Minority Leader Gordon Hintz (Oshkosh) said the memo “shows Republican Gov. Scott Walker is prioritizing the Foxconn project over repairing roads elsewhere in the state.” The reduction to pay for roads around the project is expected to leave the state highway fund as much as $870 million short of the $2.4 billion the state Department of Transportation said was needed to maintain road conditions for the next decade.
A bipartisan proposal in the Kentucky legislature would raise the gas tax by 10 cents per gallon and impose annual fees on hybrid and electric vehicles in an attempt to jump start the state’s stagnant road fund. The state has a backlog of more than $1 billion in road paving projects, plus at least 1,000 bridges that need to be repaired or replaced, but the fund the state uses to pay for those projects has not increased since 2014. House Bill 609 introduced by Republican Rep. Sal Santoro and Democratic Rep. John Sims would add an extra $391 million a year to the fund.
- updated March 2 to reflect Senate approval.
The Michigan Senate March 1 approved a bill allocating $175 million for roads throughout the state. The money comes from funding that departments didn’t spend last year. Gov. Rick Snyder (R ) recently proposed the additional $175 million for road repairs in the 2018-2019 budget, but lawmakers said they wanted to spend the money now. Democrats reportedly tried to amend the bill, adding an extra $275 million to put it toward road repairs, which would have come from the state’s rainy day fund, but that amendment was rejected.
ARTBA Reports on Economic Impact of Calif. Transportation Investment
California’s 2017 Road Repair and Accountability Act – SB 1 – will generate nearly $183 billion in economic activity and user benefits throughout all sectors of the state’s economy over 10 years, a new study from ARTBA’s chief economist Dr. Alison Premo Black released Feb. 28 shows. The additional demand, in turn, will also support or create an average of over 68,200 jobs per year, adding up to over 682,000 job-years over the next decade—with over half coming in sectors outside of the construction industry. The state’s Republican party, meanwhile, has pledged $200,000 to an initiative drive aimed at repealing the increases to the state gax tax and vehicle fees, while its related campaign continues to collect signatures to qualify a measure for the November ballot.
(This story appears in the January/February issue of Transportation Builder, which is publishing soon.)
By Mark Holan, editorial director, ARTBA
Whether Alabama or California, Ohio or Idaho, states often have similar needs, but usually take slightly different approaches to suit their population.
Still, most state lawmakers don’t mind taking a peek at what’s happening in the other 49 capitols. That’s why ARTBA’s Transportation Investment Advocacy Center™ (TIAC) is such a helpful resource.
TIAC has developed model language for state statues to raise transportation repair and construction revenue, both through electric and hybrid vehicle fees and variable-rate state gas taxes. TIAC also regularly tracks and disseminates details on the latest state legislative trends and news through special reports, weekly blog posts, frequent webinars and personal contact, including the annual National Workshop for State & Local Transportation Advocates.
A record number of advocates from 32 states attended last year’s workshop. New model legislation and helpful information will be unveiled at this year’s 5th annual event, July 17-18 in Washington, D.C. Register now.
TIAC provides “a road map as to what can be done,” said Mike Clowser, executive director of the Contractors Association of West Virginia, an ARTBA affiliate. “It helped us glean the best-of-the-best from around the county.”
West Virginia was one of eight states in 2017 to approve new fees on electric and hybrid vehicles. The revenue will help cover the wear and tear these alternative fuel vehicles put on the Mountain State’s roads and bridges, just like conventional fuel-burning cars and trucks.
Eighteen states have approved such fees in the last five years.
West Virginia legislators passed other transportation investment initiatives in 2017, including a gas tax increase, and state voters approved a $1.6 billion bond. As of January 2018, $350 million in contracts had been let in a $3 billion road construction program.
“We used the TIAC information quite effectively to show what other states were doing to improve their highways systems, especially states around West Virginia, such as Pennsylvania, and nationwide,” Clowser said. “We tried to show West Virginia legislators that they are not alone, and how transportation investment helps the economy and creates jobs.”
Last summer, South Carolina passed transportation investment initiatives totaling $800 million of additional annual revenue. The legislative package included new electric and hybrid vehicle fees and raised the state gas tax for the first time in 30 years, the state vehicle sales tax for the first time in 36 years.
Bill Ross, executive director at South Carolina Alliance to Fix Our Roads, said the TIAC model legislation and other information was helpful in a lot ways.
“We’ve used the concepts and examples of what was being done in other states,” he said. “[State legislators] always appreciate it when you can present an example from another state.”
ARTBA Chief Economist Dr. Alison Premo Black also visited the group’s annual meeting.
“I’ve spoken with dozens of transportation investment groups and always enjoy hearing their ideas and best practices, including approaches that didn’t work,” Black said. “It helps TIAC to help other groups.”
California, Indiana, Minnesota, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Oklahoma also passed electric and hybrid vehicle fees in 2017. Oklahoma’s state supreme court struck down the legislation on a technicality, but state lawmakers have introduced legislation to try again.
Seven of the eight states that passed electric and hybrid vehicle fees last year are represented on the Transportation Investment Advocates Council™, the national network of business professionals and public officials who share a common interest in building support for transportation infrastructure investments in their state or local community. Council membership and TIAC resources are part of an effective strategy to increase transportation investment.
“We have used TIAC material regarding what other states have done to increase funding for their transportation infrastructure, especially those that have passed legislation to increase their gas tax,” said Orville Thomas, government affairs director at the California Alliance for Jobs.
Added Craig Thompson, executive director for the Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin: “We have shared with our legislative officials and the media information about other states stepping up to pass sustainable transportation packages. Information we have gleaned from both the TIAC site and quarterly calls with other states have helped to inform our overall messaging.”
The 5th Annual “National Workshop for State & Local Transportation Advocates,” a signature program of the Transportation Investment Advocacy Center™ (TIAC), will once again bring together transportation investment champions from around the country to share best practices, playbook secrets and other keys to success in advancing state and local legislative and ballot initiatives that boost transportation infrastructure investment.
Attend the Workshop in the Nation’s Capital on July 18 to hear the real-life challenges and success stories of state transportation funding campaigns. Learn what states have raised or are trying to raise new transportation revenue, why they are doing so, what revenue streams they are exploring, who the major players are, and campaign tactics and strategies. Attendees will leave the Workshop with new skills and techniques for increasing funding in their own states.
This year’s Workshop will include:
- An overview of state transportation funding trends and initiatives, plus a preview of what’s to come on 2018 state and local ballots;
- An update on federal transportation funding and efforts to permanently fix the revenue stream for the Highway Trust Fund;
- In-depth exploration of short- and long-term transportation funding techniques being explored by states;
- How states ‘set the stage’ for a transportation funding increase;
- Advice from state lawmakers on succeeding in your transportation funding campaign;
- And more!
The annual in-person meeting of the Transportation Investment Advocates Council will be held the afternoon of Tuesday, July 17. This meeting is for members of the Council, or for those interested in learning more about the Council and state transportation funding resources.
The Workshop is being held in conjunction with ARTBA’s 30th annual “Public-Private Partnerships in Transportation Conference.”
New Mexico House lawmakers rejected a Senate amendment on Feb. 13 that would decrease revenue for road construction and maintenance from $60 million to $34 million, holding up the state’s $6.3 billion budget plan. The budget bill is due to Gov. Susana Martinez (R) by noon on Feb. 15. Read More>>
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced on Feb. 12, 45 new transportation infrastructure projects worth $41.5 million. Read More>>
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) on Feb. 13 proposed spending $200 million in the annual road repair bill on municipal road and bridge projects to address damage from volatile weather conditions. Read More>>
Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer (R) called on lawmakers in his Feb. 8 Joint Address to end the diversion of revenue from the state highway fund. Read More>>
Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R) voiced his opposition on Feb. 8 to a proposed 10 cents-per-gallon gas tax increase measure, which could go before voters this year if approved by state lawmakers. The Senate included a 6 cents-per-gallon gas tax increase in its Feb. 13 tax plan, with tax cuts to offset the impact on state residents. Read More>>
South Carolina Department of Transportation Secretary Christy Hall told lawmakers on Feb. 7 that the 2017 state transportation funding increase is on track to generate the anticipated $150 million in new revenue this fiscal year. In combination with bonds approved in 2013 and 2016, the state has already started about 3,200 transportation projects worth roughly $3 billion. Read More>>
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s 2018 Recommended Highway Plan includes a $307 million increase in revenue for road pavement repair and an additional $57 million increase to repair bridges. Without more revenue, the report warned that 6,000 more road miles over the next six years will be added to the $1 billion backlog of pavement repairs. Outside of the budget proposal, the agency warned that $6 billion worth of projects remains unfunded, requiring an addition $490 million annually. Read More>>
By Mark Holan, editorial director, ARTBA
A new feature on the Transportation Investment Advocacy Center™ (TIAC) website makes it easy to track in real time transportation funding measures in state legislatures nationwide.
The service includes a national map on the TIAC website “State Legislation” page that highlights states with 2018 bills. The first click on any of these states opens a summary of pending legislation, often multiple bills, written by TIAC Director Carolyn Kramer to provide context and insight.
The second click on any of the bill numbers displays the legislative text and a timeline of its progress through legislative committees, including roll calls showing whether house or senate members voted for and against the measure.
“This feature helps transportation investment advocates monitor the latest developments in their home state legislatures, and see what is happening in other state capitals across the country,” Kramer said. “In addition, TIAC’s monthly state transportation funding overview reports, which provides a more in-depth analysis of national trends, an overview of major events, a history of transportation funding going back to 2012, graphs, and maps.”
As of the first full week of February, 27 U.S. states were considering transportation investment legislation, a total of nearly 100 bills. View the live state legislative tracker.