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Entries in Federal Transportation Funding (34)


Trump to Outline Infrastructure Plan That Includes Rural Funding

Bloomberg Politics

 June 7, 2017

U.S.President Donald Trump will outline his vision on Wednesday for an infrastructure plan that includes federal grants to rural areas as well as to states and localities to create additional funding for projects, according to a preview of the speech provided by the White House.

Trump is scheduled to speak in Cincinnati as part of what the White House has billed as a week-long effort to formally launch the initiative to deliver the $1 trillion in infrastructure investment he has promised to upgrade crumbling roads, bridges, airports and other assets.

The president proposes allocating $200 billion in federal funding over 10 years to spur at least an additional $800 billion in spending by states, municipalities and the private sector. The federal funds will be divided into four categories:

* A mixture of grants and loans to “transformative’’ projects, with Trump’s proposal to place the U.S. air-traffic control system under a private, non-profit corporation as an example.

* Grants to rural areas to repair bridges, roads, and waterways. Critics of Trump’s approach have raised concerns that rural areas would not be able to use tolls or fees needed to attract private investment.

* Enhanced loan programs, with the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, or TIFIA, as an example of how federal funds can be used with state, local, and private dollars to fund projects.

* Incentive programs with grants to states and municipalities to create additional funding for infrastructure.


Trucking groups question Trump’s push for highway privatization

Commercial Carrier Journal

May 31, 2017

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for the 2018 fiscal year has drawn tepid reactions from some trucking groups, particularly over his call for allowing greater tolling efforts on U.S. Interstates.

Trump’s budget, as noted Monday, proposes removing the ban on tolling existing Interstate lanes, according to most interpretations, along with slashing billions from the Department of Transportation’s annual budget, greater privatization of public rest stops and attempts to drum up investment from private companies for highway projects.

Several trucking groups, however, have balked at Trump’s proposal to fund highways via tolls, as have anti-toll groups, obviously. Others, such as the International Bridge, Turnpike and Tunnel Association, have expressed tepid support, arguing any step toward boosting highway funding is better than no steps.

Read on...


Trump slips infrastructure plan into budget


May 24, 2017

The Trump administration finally laid out its long-promised vision for a $1 trillion national infrastructure plan Tuesday — with nary a peep of fanfare and the president not even in the country to talk it up.

It arrived as a six-page fact sheet packaged with President Donald Trump’s $4.1 trillion proposed 2018 budget. As expected, it laid out a vision for $200 billion in direct federal spending over the next decade on needs such as roads, bridges, tunnels, railroads and expanded broadband, along with incentives for states, cities and private investors and efforts to reduce the burdens of regulations. 

“The administration’s goal is to seek long-term reform on how infrastructure projects are regulated, funded, delivered and maintained,” Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao told reporters Tuesday. She said the administration expects “to have more details forthcoming,” including a legislative package later this year, but described the concepts handed out.

Read on...


Heartland Expressway gaining traction in Washington

Scottsbluff Star Herald

May 23, 2017

Deb Cottier, Heartland Expressway AssociationWith chatter of President Trump’s proposed $1 trillion-infrastructure package, The Heartland Expressway is gaining traction on Capitol Hill, according to Daniel Bennett of Panhandle Area Development District and Scottsbluff City Manager Nathan Johnson.

Bennett, Johnson and Kimball City Administrator Dan Dean participated in a fly-in to the nation’s capital at the end of April, joining a delegation from the Ports-to-Plains Alliance. Ports-to-Plains is a grassroots organization of over 275 communities and businesses, including the Heartland Expressway, the Theodore Roosevelt Expressway in North and South Dakota, and the Eastern Alberta (Canada) Trade Corridor Coalition. Their goal is to advocate for a robust international transportation infrastructure to promote economic security and prosperity throughout North America’s energy and agricultural heartland including Mexico to Canada.


Hoeven, Senators, Western Governors Meet to Move 6-Year Highway Bill; Bill Includes More Than $1.6 Billion for ND

Meeting participants. Left to right, Bullock, Daines, Rounds, Daugaard, Thune, Enzi, Mead, Barrasso, Hoeven and Dalrymple.

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven and Senate colleagues today met with a group of four western governors to advance a six-year federal highway bill. The governors were on Capitol Hill to meet with members of the Commerce and Appropriations committees to develop a strategy for passing a long-term transportation bill that will give states the certainty they need to begin large infrastructure projects.

The Senate passed a new six-year highway bill in July that will provide North Dakota with more than $1.6 billion. The formula is favorable to North Dakota and increases highway funding for the state to $270 million, about $30 million a year more than it currently receives.

“A strong, long-term highway bill is important not only for the western states, but for the entire country,” Hoeven said. “The fact that five western governors would make the trip to meet with us underscores the importance of this bill to their states’ economies. The current transportation bill will enable important infrastructure projects to move forward, which will create jobs, grow our economy and improve safety.”

Governors Jack Dalrymple (R-N.D.), Steve Bullock (D-Mont.), Dennis Daugaard (R-S.D.) and Matt Mead (R-Wyo.) were in Washington with the Western Governors’ Association to meet with lawmakers on critical issues to their states.

The Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act reauthorizes the nation’s transportation programs for six years. The six-year Senate bill provides $350 billion in contract authority for the 2015-2021 period. The measure makes up for a lack of highway trust fund revenues by adding about $45 billion in offsets. The bill does not increase the deficit or increase taxes.

DRIVE Act Highlights for North Dakota:

  • Increases Transportation Funding for North Dakota by maintaining the federal aid highway formula structure and increasing the amount each state will receive every year:
  • North Dakota will receive an average of $270 million a year in highway formula funding over six years, an average of $30 million more than the state receives today.
  • Makes completing transportation projects easier by making National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) reforms, cutting red tape.
  • Provides six years of increased funding, giving state and local governments the certainty and stability they need to improve and develop our nation’s transportation infrastructure.
  • Increases Transit Funding to North Dakota by approximately $1 million a year, increasing from more than $14 million in the first year to more than $17 million by the sixth year. Overall, the bill increases public transportation funding nearly $1.5 billion over MAP-21 levels.
  • Improves Safety:  The bill’s safety and regulatory title makes important enhancements for safer highways as well as freight and passenger rail service through effective implementation of new technologies, new tools for federal safety watchdog agencies, reforming grant programs for states and transparency that promotes accountability.
  • Includes a New National Freight Strategy and Strategic Plan to improve freight transportation networks that serve agriculture, retail, manufacturing and energy sectors.
  • Includes the Federal Permitting Improvement Act to improve the permitting process for major capital (more than $200 million in investment) projects across sectors, including energy.
  • Assistance for Major Projects (AMP) Program to provide grants for large projects of national or regional significance and includes at least a 20 percent set aside for rural areas.

Original News Release from Senator John Hoeven (ND)


USDOT, More Business Groups Push for Bill Action as Congress Juggles Deadlines

AASHTO Journal

September 18, 2015

Top officials from the U.S. Department of Transportation pressed Congress to pass a substantive long-term surface transportation bill before 2015 runs out, while scores of industry groups urged lawmakers to end a cycle of short extensions and provide the economic lift a long-term bill can bring.

Increasingly in recent days, lawmakers focused on a range of other looming issues with closer deadlines, including the need to agree on a government-wide funding plan before the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year or face a potential government shutdown.

House Transportation Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa., has not yet scheduled a markup session for his committee's version of a long-term highway, transit and rail programs authorization. He has said he expects that to occur late this month or early in October.

Congress will also need to extend the Federal Aviation Administration, whose authority is set to expire that same day, to avoid interrupting some of its programs that affect a number of state departments of transportation. Politico reported that Senate Commerce Chairman John Thune, R-S.D., said he and Shuster have been discussing how to move an FAA extension, perhaps by attaching it to a short-term government funding bill.

The Highway Trust Fund is authorized through Oct. 29, which takes it past the Sept. 30 end of the federal fiscal year and would leave the Federal Highway Administration unaffected during a possible government shutdown before then.   Read on…


How a Gas Tax Increase Affects the Retail Pump Price: An Economic Analysis of 2013-14 Market Impacts in 5 States

American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA)

June 16, 2015

Increasing the gas tax does not result in a commensurate penny-to-penny increase in the retail price motorists pay at the pump, a study of the market impacts of five state gas tax increases enacted in 2013 found.

The analysis, by Dr. Alison Black, chief economist for the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), found, on average, the price for a gallon of regular gasoline the day after a state gas tax increase goes into effect only reflects about 22 percent of the new levy.  A month after enactment, only about a third of the levy shows up in the pump price, she says, and thereafter, it is not a significant retail price factor.

The study also found that since 2005 the average weekly price of gasoline nationally has fluctuated, on average, five cents per gallon.  Black says a modest increase in the federal gas tax rate to restore the purchasing power of the user fee—last adjusted in 1993—would likely be "lost" in the week-to-week price fluctuation experienced at the pump.   Read on…

Complete Study: How a Gas Tax Increase Affects the Retail Pump Price: An Economic Analysis of 2013-14 Market Impacts in 5 States


Can you see the can bouncing down the road? Oops, it landed in a pothole, got stuck in traffic or worse yet was in an accident!

This week Congress addressed an immediate, critical need by passing legislation to extend federal surface transportation programs and ensure the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund through May 2015.  Without this short-term fix, the United States Department of Transportation would have to start cutting highway project reimbursements to states and local governments early next week.  Thousands of transportation projects and hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country would be at risk.  This is unacceptable.  For this reason, the Ports-to-Plains Alliance strongly supports this short-term fix, but it does so reluctantly.

The main reason for our reluctance is that this short-term fix simply kicks the can down of the road without any real effort to address the long-term structural deficit in the federal Highway Trust Fund.  Congress is once again using ten-year offsets to address the short-term.  Since 2008, Congress has transferred $53.3 billion in General Funds into the Highway Trust Fund using these offsets.  Frankly, it’s a gimmick.  It’s a shell game.  Congress should stop the gimmicks, stop the games. It’s time for a long-term, sustainable fix for the Highway Trust Fund. 

The Highway Trust Fund has been in dire fiscal condition for the past six years as America’s transportation network continues to decline.  The Alliance’s message to Congress is simple: we need more than a short-term fix; we need a long-term fix.  It’s incumbent on the House and Senate, working with the Administration, to develop a long-term and sustainable Highway Trust Fund solution that supports future transportation capital investments.  Anything less does a great disservice to the tens of millions of American motorists, businesses, and workers who rely on the transportation network every day.   Congress should continue working to develop a long-term funding solution and a long-term reauthorization bill.   And it should do so sooner rather than later.  It should act in 2014 if at all possible.

The Ports-to-Plains Alliance invites you to join in telling Congress it is time to return to a long term, user based funded transportation policy. Add your name to a letter to Congress asking that it reauthorizes federal transportation programs (MAP-21) for five or six years in accordance with Ports-to-Plains Alliance priorities, and provides the user-fee-based, sustainable revenues for the Highway Trust Fund necessary to support the higher levels of investment needed to modernize America’s national transportation network, including rural freight / energy / agricultural corridors like Ports-to-Plains, Heartland Expressway, and Theodore Roosevelt Expressway.

See the Federal Priorities of the Ports-to-Plains Alliance for MAP-21 Implementation and Reauthorization at http://www.portstoplains.com/images/advocacy/transportation-advocacy/2014policypaper_lores.pdf.

Add your name to the Letter to Congress at http://www.portstoplains.com/index.php/advocacy/transportation/tell-congress-to-address-transportation-funding.