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.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) proposed an 18-cent-per-gallon gas tax increase on Feb. 20 that would commence July 1, 2019, and be annually adjusted with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to compensate for inflation beginning the following year. However, the rate would not be adjusted if CPI decreases but would instead remain the same as the preceding year.
If approved, the gas tax would be raised to 46 cents per gallon, in fiscal year 2020, roughly equating to $750 million for Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and $1.6 million for every county in the state. This comes as part of a $7.43 billion transportation budget put forth to the House Finance Committee.
ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks, in introducing the budget, warned legislators of an impending transportation crisis and said there will be no funds for transportation improvement projects if a solution is not implemented. The state’s road maintenance contracts, which totaled $2.4 billion in 2014, could dip as low as $1.5 billion in 2020 due to a $1 billion funding gap.
The bill has received mixed reactions from Ohio lawmakers.
In Alabama a proposed gas tax increase made progress on Feb. 19 when the League of Municipalities, the Counties Association, and Gov. Kay Ivey (R) agreed on a 12-cent per gallon increase to be split between the state, counties, and municipalities. The bill is expected to be introduced in the Alabama Legislature in March. Read More>>
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) presented a $49.5 billion 2020-2021 general budget proposal on Feb.19 that includes increased motor vehicle registration taxes, a motor vehicle sales tax increase, and a 20-cents per gallon gas tax increase to be phased in by 2023 then indexed to inflation. The plan is being opposed by Republican legislators some of whom would prefer to direct state General Funds to transportation. Read More>>
Also in Minnesota, on Feb. 21 Sen. John Hoffman (DFL-36) said the state faces a $6 billion transportation funding gap as roads and bridges approach the end of their “useful life.” If legislators don’t pass a viable long-term transportation solution its projected that over 70 percent of spending will be needed to fund road preservation. Read More>>
Massachusetts needs an additional $8.4 billion infusion over the next decade to adequately fund repairs to its transportation system, particularly highways, according to “A Better City” report released Feb. 21. The state transportation department plans to invest $17 billion over the next five years in maintenance and modernization, Massachusetts Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack said. Read More>>
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) presented a $300 million annual highway funding plan on Feb. 11 to expand or improve 92 percent of the 7,900 miles of highway that supports most of the state’s traffic, creating an estimated 3,900 jobs annually and generating $8 billion in economic activity.
Funding for the plan would come from:
- $206 million annually generated by extending a half-cent sales tax, approved by voters in 2012, which was due to expire in 2023.
- Increasing the fuel tax by 3 cents per gallon for gasoline and 6 cents per gallon for diesel, which combine to raise $58 million annually.
- $35 million minimum in annual casino revenue.
- Almost $ 2 million annually by implementing registration fees for hybrid and electric vehicles ($100 and $200, respectively).
If approved by the legislature, the sales tax extension would go before voters in 2020. Read More>>
Wisconsin Republican legislators on Feb. 4 suggested tolling was the best way to fund highway network repairs, however Gov. Tony Evers (D) indicated that he is more open to raising or indexing the gas tax. Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R – 63) and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R – 13) have been the most vocal proponents of tolling. Read More>>
Seeking bipartisan agreement, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchison (R) on Feb. 12 proposed a $300 million highway funding plan composed of a half-cent general sales tax increase, a 3-cent gas tax increase, and diversion of expected casino revenue. The plan hopes to appease Republican legislators who are considering supporting Hutchinson’s $97 million income tax cut proposal. Read More>>
Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) promoted her 2020 budget on Feb. 13, which provides the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) $160 million in funding, in effort to reduce highway construction delays. Kelly also plans to end transfers of KDOT money by 2023, starting with a $100 million reserve next year. Read More>>
Also in Kansas, Governor Kelly and KDOT said Feb 10 the agency faces a 100 percent annual turnover rate of entry-level road equipment operators. Read More>>
The Warren Fiscal Court in Kentucky joined several other county governments in passing a resolution on Feb. 13 encouraging the General Assembly to “address the state’s transportation funding needs to avoid further erosion of the transportation network.” This bolsters a broader push to modernize Kentucky’s gas tax formula, which fluctuates with the wholesale price of gas. Read More>>
Minnesota state officials said Feb. 4 spending on a $2 billion light rail project scheduled to begin service in 2023 would continue, spurring the state’s economic momentum and keeping a potential recession at bay. Read More>>
Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Director Jack Marchbanks on Feb. 5 called attention to a $1 billion budget gap. As a result, $2.4 billion worth of 2014 contracts will be reduced to $1.5 billion by 2020. Read More>>
Additionally, to address possible infrastructure funding shortfalls, Ohio State Sen. Bill Coley (R- 4) and State Rep. Jim Butler (R- 41) on Feb. 4 suggested raising the state gas tax for non-Ohioans while allowing state residents to verify that they have pre-paid a motor fuel tax. “This is one of many funding solutions being considered,” said Butler. Read More>>
Thanks to a 2017 South Carolina General Assembly bill, critical statewide bridge and road repairs continue. Chair of the South Carolina Department of Transportation Robby Robbins on Feb. 4 reminded residents that completing an overhaul of the state’s dilapidated infrastructure may cost up to $1 billion. Read More>>
Iowa state legislators on Feb. 4 requested recommendations from the Iowa Department of Transportation on how to best compensate for transportation revenue losses due to growing elective vehicle use. Read More>>
Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R- 107) on Feb. 5 expressed interest in altering how a sales tax is applied to fuel costs to ensure that transportation funding receives more revenue. Read More>>
Also in Michigan, director of the state department of transportation, Paul Ajegba, projects the state will need to double its transportation funding to improve state highways. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) is expected to include transportation funding plans in her budget proposal. Read More>>
A new Arkansas coalition is urging state legislators on Feb. 7 to increase transportation funding toward the estimated $ 478 million in additional annual revenue needed to improve and preserve the road system. Read More>>