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.
The Wisconsin legislature passed a budget on Sept. 15 that will create a $100 annual registration fee for electric motor vehicles and a $75 annual registration fee for hybrid motor vehicles. The bill also authorizes $400 million in bonds to fund transportation projects. Gov. Scott Walker (R) approved the measure on Sept. 21, but issued a line-item veto on a proposed study of toll roads. Wisconsin is the 19th state that requires electric vehicles to pay an additional registration fee, and the ninth state to pass such a fee in 2017 alone. Read More>>
Illinois lawmakers are considering raising the gas tax as a way to improve the state’s transportation infrastructure and create jobs, Rep. Dan Brady (R-Bloomington) told Illinois News Network. Read More>>
A new report from the American Road and Transportation Builders Association released Sept. 12 quantifies the significant losses Connecticut faces if it fails to invest in transportation infrastructure. The state would forego over $65 billion in long-run economic benefits, wages and output from drivers and businesses and nearly $21.4 billion in state GDP. The report also examines the significant impact on the six key economic sectors in the state. Read More>>
A survey released by HNTB Corp on Sept. 11 found that 84 percent of Americans are willing to pay higher taxes or tolls to fund transportation improvements, as long as the revenue is required by law to be spent on the intended infrastructure projects. Read More>>
The Wisconsin Assembly voted 57-39 on Sept. 14 to pass a state budget that includes new transportation revenue. The bill now goes before the Senate, where leaders have stated they currently do not have enough votes to pass the measure. Read More>>
The Pennsylvania House passed a budget proposal on Sept. 13 that decreased the amount of diversions from transportation funds. The bill passed with no Democratic support, and the opposition of 15 Republican lawmakers. The House and the Senate now must work on a compromise between their proposals. Read More>>
An anticipated transfer to the Massachusetts transportation fund was cut by $13.1 million due to state budget shortfalls. The state department of transportation (MassDOT) will utilize $4.5 million in reserves as well as reduce earmarks by $730,000 and make $7.9 million in adjustments, with the Highway Division seeing the largest cut at $3.7 million. MassDOT Chief Financial Officer David Pottier warned that, while the reductions will not affect full-time employees, they could affect seasonal or temporary employees. Read More>>
Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) approved a measure on Sept. 5 to provide $2.4 billion in funding towards Honolulu’s commuter rail project, which is behind schedule and over budget. The bill extends a 0.5 percent general excise tax on Oahu for three years, increases the statewide hotel room tax by 1 percent for 13 years, and reduces an administrative fee on Oahu’s rail tax from 10 percent to 1 percent in order to raise the revenue. Oahu must show that it is able to close the remaining funding gap, estimated at $600 million, to receive $1.55 billion in federal transit grant funding. Read More>>
Did you miss this?
- A free webinar exploring state electric vehicle fees is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 20 at 3:00 pm ET. Read More>>
Three transportation investment experts will explore state electric vehicle fee legislation during a free Oct. 20 webinar hosted by ARTBA’s Transportation Investment Advocacy Center™ (TIAC). Topics include why the fees were introduced, revenue forecasts, political opposition to such measures, and how they have passed in state legislatures. Participants will gain new tools to advance their own campaigns to create electric vehicle fees.
The free Oct. 20 webinar begins at 3 p.m., Eastern, but requires advance registration.
About electric vehicle fees:
State transportation officials are faced with the very real challenge that electric and hybrid electric vehicles cause wear and tear on their highway networks, but use very little, if any, gasoline or diesel fuel. Owners of such vehicles enjoy the benefits of the road network without fully contributing to the maintenance and improvement of the system through traditional motor fuel taxes that fund highway programs. Although electric and hybrid electric vehicles are still a small part of the U.S. vehicle fleet, their market share is expected to grow.
Ten states had electric vehicle fees at the start of the year, and nine more have passed such transportation investment measures during their 2017 legislative sessions.
Wayne Hammon, CEO, Idaho AGC. In 2015, Idaho’s legislature instituted a $75 hybrid vehicle fee and $140 electric vehicle fee. Earlier this year, state lawmakers repealed the hybrid vehicle fee. Hammon will explore what happened.
Dennis Faulkenberg, president, Appian (Indiana). Indiana lawmakers approved sweeping transportation funding legislation in April that included a $150 annual electric vehicle fee and $50 hybrid vehicle fee, indexed to inflation every five years. In Fiscal Year 2021, both fees are expected to generate $10.55 million for the Local Road and Bridge Matching Grant Fund. Faulkenberg will discuss how and why electric and hybrid vehicle fees were included in the legislation, and the forecast for the revenue impact.
Bobby Stem, executive director, Oklahoma General Contractors. On May 31, Oklahoma lawmakers passed legislation to create a $100 registration fee for electric motor vehicles and $30 registration fee for hybrid motor vehicles. The revenue would be credited to the State Highway Construction and Maintenance Fund. On Aug. 7, the Sierra Club filed a lawsuit to challenge the legislation, claiming that the fees were improperly passed and contending that “motor vehicle fees are not user fees for several reasons”. Stem will share why lawmakers implemented electric and hybrid vehicle fees, how the legislation was passed, and why there is opposition.
The Transportation Investment Advocacy Center™ is an internet-based educational platform that features detailed reports, analyses and case studies of recent transportation funding campaigns—both successful and unsuccessful—mounted in numerous states. It includes television, radio and print ads, polling, an overview of state and local funding and finance mechanisms, and an ongoing blog detailing new developments across the nation.
The Center’s program of work is also guided by the Transportation Investment Advocates Council™, a 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.
Please contact Carolyn Kramer at email@example.com with any questions.
A Mississippi bridge with a posted weight limit collapsed Aug. 28 when a truck that may have weighed more than the limit crossed it. Read More>>
Pennsylvania House Republicans proposed a state revenue plan on Sept. 5 that would reallocate funding from a variety of state accounts to fill a $2.2 billion deficit, including $507 million from mass transit, ports, rails and infrastructure accounts. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation on Sept. 7 called the proposed cuts “cataclysmic” for the state’s 37 public transportation agencies. The proposal would be used to fund the state’s budget, which was approved in July without a spending plan. The proposal must now go before the House and Senate for approval, where it is predicted to meet resistance from both parties. Read More>>
Utah Department of Transportation Executive Director Carlos Braceras expressed in testimony at a Sept. 6 hearing before the state’s Transportation Governance and Funding Task Force, interest in beginning a small vehicles miles traveled (VMT) pilot program as early as next year. Read More>>
A legislative audit confirms the Arkansas Department of Transportation needs over $400 million additional revenue annually to meet its road and bridge construction and maintenance needs. The audit identified the exact shortfall at $478 million, much higher than the $400 million previously identified in the Governor’s Working Group on Highway Funding. Highway department director Scott Bennett stated an additional $204 million is needed for the share provided to cities and counties. Read More>>
While the federal government sent the Texas Department of Transportation $25 million to begin repairing damage to the state’s transportation infrastructure caused by Hurricane Harvey, Deputy Executive Director Marc Williams predicted the total amount for recovery will well exceed the federal funds. Damage is expected to surpass the impact from Texas’s last major hurricane in 2008, which cost over $150 million to repair. Read More>>
While revenue is still slowly being phased in from 2015 transportation funding legislation, Michigan Department of Transportation director Kirk Steudle admitted the state is struggling to control the deterioration of roads. Former Republican legislative leader Vicki Barnett stated that lawmakers did not have the courage to raise taxes and fees an adequate amount to address the state’s transportation funding needs, resulting in the state falling behind on maintenance and construction. Read More>>
A new transportation investment advocacy coalition of over 30 organizations representing manufacturers, farmers, economic development leaders, engineers, local leaders and more launched in Kentucky. The coalition, chaired by Juva Barber, executive director of Kentuckians for Better Transportation and a co-chair of the Transportation Investment Advocates Council, will work to find a long-term solution for the state’s transportation infrastructure needs. Read More>>
The Wisconsin Joint Finance Committee approved a two-year transportation budget on Sept. 5 that would borrow $400 million and institute a new $100 fee on electric motor vehicles and a $75 fee on hybrid motor vehicles to fund the state’s transportation infrastructure needs. The new fees are projected to generate $8.4 million over the next two years. Additionally, the budget would require a study on interstate tolling to be completed by 2019, would repeal the prevailing wage for state building or highway projects, and would eliminate 200 positions in the Wisconsin Department of Transportation(WisDOT). The proposal, which passed the committee 12-4 with no Democratic support, will now go before the full Assembly and Senate.
The same day, business leaders from Madison, Wis., called on lawmakers to reach a deal that would end the two-month delay of a transportation budget. Leaders cited concerns that project days on the Verona Road/Highway 151 area were affecting local businesses’ bottom line.
A 2016 report by WisDOT warned that, at then-current 2015-2017 transportation budget funding levels, the number of state highway miles rated in poor and below condition would increase by 93 percent. The newly proposed 2017-2019 budget cuts the state highway rehabilitation program by $79 million, the program’s lowest funding level since the 2011-2013 biennium.