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.
Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn Dec. 5 warned that the state’s current transportation investment was inadequate to meet its needs and compete with neighboring states. Read More>>
Alabama Sen. Pro Tem Del Marsh (R- District 12) Nov. 28 stated that the legislature would likely consider increasing the state gas tax during the 2019 legislative session, with his preference including indexing the fuel tax to the Consumer Price Index with a floor and ceiling in place. Read More>>
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) recently proposed using $183 million annually from a new online sales tax to fund roads, a move that would require a change to the state constitution which outlines how sales tax revenue should be distributed. The majority of the revenue from the fund would be deposited into the School Aid Fund. Read More>>
A Kansas task force Nov. 29 included recommendations to increase the state gas tax and institute an electric vehicle user fee as part of its proposal for a long-term transportation funding plan. The final report is due to the state legislature in January. Read More>>
A Kansas legislatively-appointed task force Nov. 28 reached consensus on 280 new transportation projects to recommend for inclusion in the next multiyear transportation plan, as well as 21 projects that were not completed in the previous plan. The projects would be worth an estimated $18 billion. The task force will consider funding options at its final meeting on Nov. 29. One option it is likely to recommend is restoring revenue to a fund designated for cities and counties; current law requires the state to transfer $130 million annually into that fund, but recent budget shortfalls have diverted the revenue to other purposes. Read More>>
Colorado State Transportation Commissioners Rocky Scott, Kathy Connell and Sidny Zink voiced concern Nov. 26 about voter rejection of transportation funding ballot measures earlier this month. All three commissioners expected needed projects in their region to be delayed, congestion to increase, and project cost to rise while officials look for a transportation funding solution. Gov.-elect Jared Polis (D) has called on lawmakers to think of a new, recurring revenue stream. Read More>>
Iowa Department of Transportation Director Mark Lowe at a Nov. 26 budget hearing announced that the state is making progress addressing structurally deficient bridges, with numbers falling from a high of 256 in 2006 to an anticipated 46 by the end of 2019. The director urged Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) to continue investing in the department and continue pushing forward on the progress. Read More>>
A Louisiana coalition is gearing up for a campaign to increase the state gas tax, but is already facing push-back from Americans for Prosperity. Department of Transportation and Development Director Shawn Wilson asked residents to support increasing the department’s resources in a Nov. 22 op-ed. Read More>>
Voters in 12 states overwhelmingly re-elected 93 percent of 530 state lawmakers who supported a gas tax increase between 2015 and 2018 and ran for re-election in 2018. Winning state lawmakers in Nov. 6 races included 92 percent of Republicans, and 94 percent of Democrats, according to an analysis from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s Transportation Investment Advocacy Center™ (ARTBA-TIAC).
The preliminary numbers compare favorably to lawmakers who voted against a gas tax increase—90 percent of 211 state legislators who voted against a gas tax increase and ran for re-election won their races, including 88 percent of Republicans and 96 percent of Democrats.
The results are consistent with those over the last five years that show support for a gas tax increase does not hurt political careers. Including 2018, voters have re-elected 92 percent of over 1,890 state lawmakers who voted in favor of a gas tax increase since 2013. This support for lawmakers who approve a gas tax increase persists across party lines as well— over 90 percent of Democratic and 94 percent of Republican lawmakers were re-elected.
The complete report and an interactive map showing the state-by-state results can be found at www.transportationinvestment.org.
ARTBA’s government relations, economics and Transportation Investment Advocacy Center™ (TIAC) teams have produced two special reports to help you better understand the impacts of the Nov. 6 election results.
Democrats picked up 27 seats to take control of the U.S. House of Representatives; 17 House seats have not yet been called. In the Senate, Republicans added to their majority, which currently stands at 52-45. Senate races in Florida, Mississippi and Arizona are still to be called.
“Now we have a much easier path because the Democrats will come to us with a plan for infrastructure, a plan for health care, a plan for whatever they’re looking at, and we’ll negotiate,” President Donald Trump said during a Nov. 7 news conference discussing the House results.
ARTBA tracked a record 346 state and local transportation ballot investment initiatives in 31 states. Voters approved 272, or 79 percent, of those measures.
In the most closely watched initiative (Prop. 6), California voters beat back an effort to repeal an increase in the state gasoline and diesel motor fuels tax that had been previously approved by the legislature as part of a 2017 transportation funding law. That decision by voters will help preserve more than $50 billion for urgently-needed highway, bridge, transit improvements in California over a 10-year period.
For more details on the congressional election and transportation ballot results, and re-election rates of state legislators who supported gas tax releases, read the full reports below.
By Mark Holan, editorial director, ARTBA
An effort to repeal the 2017 law that increases California’s transportation funding by $5.2 billion annually tops the list of hundreds of ballot measures voters will consider Nov. 6.
“The attempted repeal of Proposition 6 in California is a real concern for the transportation construction community and the motoring public,” ARTBA Chief Economist Dr. Alison Premo Black said during an Oct. 25 presentation at ARTBA’s Northeastern Region meeting, held in the Nation’s Capital. “If successful, it could lead to a wave of similar initiatives to roll back transportation infrastructure investment in other states,” she said.
Debate about the 12-cents-per-gallon gasoline, and 20-cents-per-gallon diesel, tax increases was lively and expected during last year’s legislative session in Sacramento, Black said. But now work has begun on transportation projects based on the additional funding.
ARTBA’s economics team earlier this year produced six reports showing the extra transportation infrastructure investment will generate between $9.7 billion and $34.5 billion of additional economic activity and user benefits in California’s major regions over the next decade.
The repeal effort is being driven by some congressional Republicans who are using the ballot measure to drive GOP turnout in an attempt to save the House from flipping to the Democrats.
A 10-cent-per-gallon motor fuels tax increase is also on the Nov. 6 ballot in Missouri.
State and local voters have approved an average 75 percent of transportation investment measures over the past decade. Last year’s approval rate was 82 percent.
ARTBA’s Transportation Investment Advocacy Center (TIAC) will produce a comprehensive report about the outcome of this year’s ballot measures the day after the election. Then, at 3 p.m. Eastern, Nov. 8, TIAC will host a webinar to review and discuss the results. Register now.