Tag Archive for 'ARTBA'

ARTBA Reports: 2016 Primary Results Confirm Gas Tax Increase Vote Not Politically Toxic

29d04b3d-4453-4557-a059-9cf73a6a6df3A new analysis of eight states that passed legislation to increase their state motor fuel taxes in 2015 to pay for important new transportation improvements shows that 98 percent of Republican and Democratic lawmakers who supported the bill won their primary races in 2016.

“These results should dispel any notion that voting to increase the state gas tax is politically toxic,” says American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) Chief Economist Dr. Alison Premo Black, who conducted the research. “Voters expect lawmakers to put forward solutions to help reduce traffic congestion, improve road safety and help grow the economy. They are also willing to pay for these expanded investments.”

According to the ARTBA Transportation Investment Advocacy Center™ (TIAC) analysis, eight states—Iowa, South Dakota, Utah, Idaho, Georgia, Nebraska, Washington, and Michigan—approved a gas tax increase or its equivalent in 2015. Six of these states had a Republican governor and Republican majority legislature at the time the legislation was passed.

For most state lawmakers who voted on a motor fuel tax measure last year, 2016 is the first time they are facing re-election. In the eight states, 231 Democratic state legislators voted in favor of increasing state motor fuel taxes (66 percent of all Democrats in office at the time of the vote). In the 2016 primaries, 125 of these Democrats were up for re-election, with 122 winning their primary race. Just three Democrats who supported a gas tax increase and were up for re-election lost their seat in the primaries. One hundred and thirteen Democratic lawmakers voted against a gas tax increase in 2015, with 39 of those legislators up for re-election in 2016, and one losing their seat in their primary race.

In 2015, 440 Republican state legislators supported successful legislation to increase state gas taxes (65 percent of all Republicans in office at the time of the vote). In the 2016 primaries, 293 of these Republicans ran for re-election, with 287 winning, and only six losing their seat.

The ARTBA-TIAC analysis is available at www.transportationinvestment.org.

Established in 2014, TIAC is a first-of-its kind, dynamic education program and Internet-based information resource designed to help private citizens, legislators, organizations and businesses successfully grow transportation investment at the state and local levels through the legislative and ballot initiative processes.

ARTBA Reports: FHWA Proposal Breaks With 2012
Transportation Bill Directives

29d04b3d-4453-4557-a059-9cf73a6a6df3The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) challenged the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) proposal to measure greenhouse gas emissions from new transportation projects.The proposal is part of larger performance measures required under the 2012 “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” (MAP-21) surface transportation reauthorization law. In Aug. 19 comments to the agency, ARTBA charged the proposal “exceeds both the authority of the FHWA and the intent of MAP-21.”

ARTBA warned of this three years ago, when it urged the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) not to jeopardize the broad bipartisan congressional support for MAP-21 by including extraneous issues—such as climate change— in the law’s implementation. Specifically, a 2013 ARTBA task force cautioned:

“Focus on the goals enumerated in the law. The authors of MAP-21 had the opportunity to include a host of external goals such as livability, reduction of transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions, reduction of reliance on foreign oil, adaptation to the effects of climate change, public health, housing, land-use patterns and air quality in the planning and performance process….the U.S. Department of Transportation should focus on implementing the goals and standards as spelled out in MAP-21.”

In its latest comments, ARTBA noted that neither Congress nor the administration sought emission measurements in the MAP-21 performance management process, and that such proposals were not included in the “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation” (FAST) Act reauthorization law passed in December 2015.

ARTBA also raised a variety of concerns about the proposed measurement system. Specifically, it “does not define what exactly it will measure and how it will measure it,” ARTBA stated, and “[i]t is unfair to ask the regulated community to provide specific comments on such an abstract proposal.” Further, the association warned that the proposal could lead to a cumbersome regulatory process that undercuts progress from both MAP-21 and the FAST Act on expediting transportation project delivery and delay transportation improvements.

ARTBA concluded “it is hard to see this proposal as anything other than a maneuver to achieve a policy objective the administration failed to initiate during the MAP-21 and FAST Act deliberations.” The association has asked FHWA to withdraw its proposed measurement system.

Established in 1902 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., ARTBA is the “consensus voice” of the U.S. transportation design and construction industry before Congress, federal agencies, the White House, news media and the general public.

Bumpy Roads Ahead

Bumpy Roads Ahead 1 Bumpy Roads Ahead 2

ARTBA President & CEO Statement on the Passage of House Transportation Bill

American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) President & CEO Pete Ruane issued the following statement about the House passage of its multi-year highway and transit bill:

“The U.S. House of Representatives accomplished something today that it has not done in a decade: passage of a highway and transit bill that is more than two years in duration. House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster and Ranking Member Peter DeFazio deserve enormous credit for making it happen and in such a bipartisan manner.

“The Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act helps end the eight-year cycle of short-term funding patches. It contains important provisions that renew focus on roadway infrastructure safety, improve the speed and efficiency in which projects are completed, and increase transparency in how the public’s tax dollars are invested.

“The bill, however, does not provide close to the investment levels the federal government says are necessary to maintain, let alone, improve conditions on the nation’s highways, bridges, and transit systems. And it does not include a long-term revenue solution for the beleaguered Highway Trust Fund.

“We urge members of the House and Senate to increase the investment levels in the final proposal that emerges from the conference committee. Absent a permanent Highway Trust Fund fix, the measure should also establish a bicameral, congressional task force with deadlines and consequences for Congress to finally develop a long-term plan to stabilize highway and public transit funding. Only then will America be able to begin building an infrastructure network that drives economic growth and boosts competitiveness in a 21st century global marketplace.”

New York Times 

Highway bill is approved by House

A six-year transportation-funding bill valued at more than $300 billion passed the House on Thursday with a vote of 363-64. The measure, which includes reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, will be reconciled with one that passed the Senate; a conference report is needed by Nov. 20. The House bill does not establish a permanent funding solution for the Federal Highway Trust Fund, and provides funds for only the first three years.

For the full New Your Times article: Click here

Summer Has Ended … and so will the most recent (34th) extension of the highway bill

Summer Has Ended

Visitor & guest editorial staffer.

Visitor & guest editorial staffer.

By Greg Sitek

… and so will the most recent (34th) extension of the highway bill

In a Recent American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) newsletter the civil engineering group noted:

Summer comes to an end next week as Congress returns to the Capitol after a five-week recess. Deadlines will be the theme this fall, with the first being the Oct. 1 funding deadline to keep the government open. The second important deadline for ASCE is Oct. 29, when MAP-21, the surface transportation bill, expires. With a D+ cumulative GPA, the topic of America’s infrastructure should be at the top of their to-do lists. Congress has several opportunities to address some of the nation’s infrastructure needs in the coming weeks. Here’s what to watch:

  1. Transportation

Before the U.S. Senate adjourned for August recess, they passed the DRIVE Act, a six-year surface transportation bill.  The DRIVE Act would end the current cycle of short-term program extensions and increase federal funding for surface transportation programs.  The U.S. House of Representatives has until a new deadline of October 29 to act to pass their own multi-year bill before the current law expires. ASCE has been focused on communicating with House members on the need to act quickly and pass a long-term bill. You can help by contacting your House members and urging them to #FixTheTrustFund.

  1. Appropriations for Federal Infrastructure Programs

So far this year, the House has only passed six of 12 annual appropriations bills and the Senate has not yet passed a single one. There is an Oct. 1 deadline to complete this year’s appropriation. Among the major dilemmas holding up the appropriations process are disagreements over the overall funding amounts for the federal government, policy riders that bog down spending bills and fundamental differences on what level to fund federal environmental, healthcare and military programs.

While it’s difficult enough for Congress to fund popular established bipartisan programs like the Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving funds (which are facing 23% cuts), newer programs, like the Levee Safety Initiative, have not received any funding since the Water Resources Reform & Development Act (WRRDA) passed. If these programs do not receive appropriations, then the progress made by creating them becomes stagnant and no real progress is made in addressing the infrastructure the legislation aimed to improve.

And the ARTBA newsletter had the following to say:

On Sept. 17, 1787, delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia signed the document they had created. The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) is using the 228th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution signing to remind Congress that Article One, Section Eight, makes support for transportation infrastructure investment a core federal government responsibility. It’s time, ARTBA says, for Congress to fix the Highway Trust Fund.

“It only took the Founding Fathers 209 days—from a call for action on Feb. 21 to the signing ceremony on Sept. 17—to draft, debate and endorse the U.S. Constitution, one of mankind’s greatest documents,” ARTBA President & CEO Pete Ruane says. “In contrast, why have our elected leaders taken over 2,000 days since 2008 trying to figure out how to permanently address the Highway Trust Fund revenue problem?”

Ruane says members of Congress should heed and respond to the words of U.S. Constitution signatories Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin and George Washington and make expanding transportation infrastructure investment a federal priority to support economic growth and improve the nation’s competitiveness.

 

Hamilton 66dcce51-dd63-45b4-a5db-96ea411c41f4Hamilton said: “The improvement of the roads would be a measure universally popular. None can be more so. For this purpose a regular plan should be adopted, coextensive with the Union, to be successfully executed, and a fund should be appropriated sufficient… To provide roads and bridges is within the direct purview of the Constitution.”

 

 

Madioson f26c5ec4-7ea9-4737-8ac8-5706d29e464cMadison noted: “Among the means of advancing the public interest, the occasion is a proper one for recalling the attention of Congress to the great importance of establishing throughout the country the roads and canals which can best be executed under the national authority. No objects within the circle of political economy so richly repay the expense bestowed on them.”

 

 

Franklin 8cd18e8a-bb5b-4723-b5f9-76bbb64a543aFranklin challenged legislators: “And have we not all these taxes too… and our provincial or public taxes besides? And over and above, have we not new roads to make, new bridges to build… and a number of things to do that your fathers have done for you, and which you inherit from them, but which we are obliged to pay for out of our present labor?”

 

 

Washington b5580c6c-4743-465b-835d-51db410776e1And George Washington, who presided over the Constitutional Convention, said: “The credit, the saving, and the convenience of this country all require that our great roads leading from one public place to another should be straightened and established by law… To me, these things seem indispensably necessary.”

With election-mania already in motion, gathering momentum with every news cast, what do you think the prospects of a worthwhile highway bill are?

 

This article appears in the October 2015 issues of the ACP magazines