Nebraska is on its way to passing a transportation funding bill, Alabama and Mississippi are considering gasoline tax increases, and Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Connecticut are reviewing legislation to protect transportation revenue. In Utah, the legislature approved diverting transportation revenue to education and water projects, and South Carolina is facing challenges to increasing transportation funding.

Increasing Revenue

Using revenue generated by last year’s gas tax increase as well as $50 million from the state’s cash reserve, Nebraska lawmakers unanimously passed legislation in a second-round debate on March 15 to invest $450 million over 17 years in highway and bridge construction. The bill will also create a transportation infrastructure bank, which will enable three state transportation infrastructure programs to accelerate construction. The measure now goes to final vote before being sent to Gov. Pete Ricketts (R). Read More.

Alabama lawmakers introduced a bill March 15 to increase the state gas tax by 6 cents-per-gallon, with adjustments every four years to keep the tax in line with neighboring states. If approved, the tax increase would expire in 2027. Read More.

A Mississippi bill that would have instituted an 8 percent tax on the average wholesale price of gasoline died in committee on March 15. Two other bills to increase the state’s gasoline tax are still being considered. Read More.

Pennsylvania legislators are reviewing a bill that evaluates how much revenue generated from the state’s motor fuel taxes should be used to support the state police. The bill emerged after it was found that transportation funds account for 67 percent of the police budget on average, with recent amounts going as high as 75 percent. Read More.

New Hampshire senators are considering a bill to require federal agencies within the state to pay the state’s motor fuel tax. Currently, U.S. agencies and diplomatic personnel are exempt from the state gas tax. If approved, the only federal agency that would remain exempt would be the U.S. armed forces. Read More.

A Connecticut ‘Transportation Lockbox’ bill to protect state transportation funds passed the Senate Transportation Committee March 14, but lawmakers warned that stronger language would be needed before it had a chance of passing the full legislature. Read More.

Legislative Challenges

A Utah bill that will divert $337 million from the state’s newly-increased transportation fund was passed by the Legislature March 10 and is pending approval from the governor. The revenue will be divided between education and water projects. The Utah Department of Transportation stated the bill will not affect current projects, but could delay future planned projects. Read More.

If South Carolina House lawmakers do not approve by the end of the week a $400 million roads plan passed by the Senate March 9, further action to advance transportation funding will not occur until mid-April, according to House representatives. House leaders indicated they plan on thoroughly evaluating the differences between the Senate’s plan and their own plan, passed in early February, before acting. Read More.

Other Legislative News

Additionally, a public-private partnerships bill proposed in the Tennessee legislature has been amended to remove highway and bridge construction. If approved, the bill would only fund mass transit projects. Read More.