Tag Archive for 'ARTBA'

ARTBA Says State DOTs Continue to Pull Back on Transportation Improvements Over Continued Uncertainty Regarding the Federal Highway Trust Fund

d9cdad69-e8aa-4830-b455-58392c53ea55Four states have canceled or delayed $780 million in transportation improvement projects and another nine say over $1.8 billion are at risk because of continued uncertainty over whether Congress will take action soon to fix the ailing Highway Trust Fund (HTF).

The Washington, D.C.-based American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) reviewed news reports, public statements and testimony from state officials to compile the list featured in a March 24 report.

On average, the HTF is the source of 52 percent of all highway and bridge capital investments made annually by state governments. Funding for the federal highway and transit program expires on May 31 unless Congress acts. The HTF has suffered five revenue shortfalls between 2008 and 2014, and the next cash crisis is expected to occur in summer 2015.

So far in 2015, four states—Ark., Ga., Tenn. and Wyo.—have shelved $779.7 million in projects due to the uncertainty over federal funds.

Nine states—Colo., Conn., Miss., Mont., Neb., Nev., Pa., Vt., and W.Va.—have expressed concern over the feasibility of future transportation infrastructure projects totaling more than $1.8 billion if Congress does not act before May 31. ARTBA expects more states will make similar announcements as the deadline draws nearer.

Last year, before a last-ditch effort by members of Congress led to an extension of MAP-21, DOT officials in 35 states publicly stated that they would be impacted by the precarious HTF situation.

“It’s déjà vu all over again as Yogi Berra would say,” according to ARTBA President & CEO Pete Ruane. “This is one of the most easily avoidable crises because Congress has known the May deadline was coming for about eight months. Yet, here we are again flirting with another economic meltdown in the peak of the construction season,” he added.

“The continued uncertainty with the Highway Trust Fund has real world, negative impacts as state governments begin cutting back on their construction plans because they don’t know if the funding will be there to pay the bills a few months from now,” Ruane said. “This, in turn, prevents private sector companies from hiring workers and making major capital investments such as purchasing equipment, both of which are key to bolstering economic activity.”

“The clock is on the field.  There are 34 legislative calendar days left in the Senate and just 22 days in the House,” Ruane said. “It’s time for Congress and the President to show they can govern and provide a permanent funding solution for America’s highway and transit program.”

The ARTBA report can be found in “current issues” of ARTBA’s government section of www.artba.org

Transportation Proposal Pushed by Conservative Activists Would Force States to Raise Gas Taxes An Average of 23.5 Cents-Per-Gallon

ee0d071a-4431-491a-ae5f-0d9154114faeAlaska Would Need Largest Gas Tax Hike of $1 Per Gallon, Followed By Montana at 44.5 Cents-Per-Gallon To Keep Current Funding Levels Under Plan to Gut Federal Funding For State Highway Capital Investments

Transportation legislation being pushed in Congress by Heritage Action, the Club for Growth and like-minded conservative activist groups would force states to raise their gasoline and diesel motor fuel taxes, on average, about 23.5 cents-per-gallon by 2020 if they wanted to maintain their current annual investment in highway and bridge improvements and public transportation, an analysis of federal and state data shows.  The states’ only other options, if the proposal was enacted, would be to raise other taxes, redirect an equivalent amount of revenue from other state programs, or slash their road, bridge and transit improvement program.

The analysis, released by the Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC), illustrates the reliance state governments have on the federal highway program for funding their road and bridge capital investments—52 percent, on average, from 2010 through 2012.

The legislation, the “Transportation Empowerment Act,” (TEA), which was sponsored in the last Congress by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.), would force states to significantly boost their gas tax rates or enact other fundraising increases to avoid further deterioration of their transportation infrastructure.  Indeed, seven states would face the prospect of having to raise their gas tax by 30 cents or more—or find the revenue equivalent of such an increase—just to maintain their current highway and bridge investment:  Alaska ($1.00), Montana (44.5 cents), Vermont (44.2 cents), Rhode Island (41.4 cents), South Dakota (35.9 cents), West Virginia (32.5 cents), Wyoming (30.5 cents).  Review a state-by-state chart.

“The Transportation Empowerment Act and the rationale these groups offer for it show a gross misunderstanding of how the federal-state partnership to provide a core function of government—providing citizens and U.S. businesses safe and efficient mobility through transportation infrastructure—works,” Pete Ruane, TCC co-chair and president and CEO of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, said. “It would be, at best, irresponsible for a Member of Congress to put their name on this legislation unless they first commit to leading the charge in their state to raise their gas tax, or other state taxes, or cut other specific state programs to fill the funding gap this legislation would create.”

“All this legislation would do is force drivers to pay more at the pump without delivering any improvements to the quality of safety of the roads and bridges they use,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America and the Co-Chair of the TCC.  “In particular, gutting the federal transportation program will force residents of large, less populous states to pay a lot more to maintain highways that benefit shippers and travelers from all over the country.”

The Heritage Action proposal would, over five years, lower the federal gas tax from 18.4 cents-per-gallon to 3.7 cents, and the federal diesel motor fuel tax from 24.3 cents-per-gallon to 5 cents.  The groups contend the lower fuels tax rates—which would generate about $6 billion per year—would be enough to rebuild and maintain the 60 year-old, 48,000-mile Interstate Highway System.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s 2013 biennial report to the Congress on the nation’s highway and bridge capital needs, however, says just maintaining current Interstate System physical conditions and performance requires almost $19 billion per year.  The annual capital investment necessary to optimize the System’s condition, performance and safety, the report says, is $35 billion.

The federal investment in state highway and bridge programs during FY 2015—which in addition to providing support for interstate highways also assists state investments in more than 120,000 miles of other major roads that connect the Interstate to the nation’s major military facilities, airports, ports, rail, truck and pipeline terminals and other strategic transport facilities—is just over $40 billion.

The analysis, prepared for the TCC by Dr. William Buechner, a former senior economist for the Congressional Joint Economic Committee and Dr. Alison Black, ARTBA’s chief economist, is based on state motor fuel tax rate data for 2014 from the Federation of Tax Administrators and Federal Highway Administration data on federal apportionments for highway program investments to the state transportation departments.

The Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) includes 31 national associations and labor unions whose members have a direct market interest in federal transportation programs.  The TCC focuses on the federal budget and surface transportation program policy issues.

A chart showing how the Transportation Empowerment Act would impact individual states can be accessed at www.transportationconstructioncoalition.org

ARTBA President & CEO Pete Ruane
 Reacts to the Passing of
 Astec Industries Founder Dr. J Don Brock

d9cdad69-e8aa-4830-b455-58392c53ea55American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) President & CEO Pete Ruane issued the following statement about the death of Dr. J. Don Brock:

“Don Brock was one of the greatest innovators in the history of modern road building.

“He founded Astec Industries in 1972 and transformed it into a leading global manufacturer of equipment for asphalt road building, aggregate processing, pipeline and utility trenching, oil, gas and water well drilling.

“A man of incredible intellect, Don’s vision for Astec was to apply creative thinking and state-of-the-art technology to traditionally low-tech industries and bolster them with a corporate culture that would become renowned for putting its customers first. He succeeded.

“As the holder of more 90 U.S. and foreign patents, Don touched virtually every phase of road building and related construction activity. In the process, he has made the nation’s roads and equipment safer and more efficient, durable, environmentally friendly and profitable.

“In 2011, the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) Foundation created its TransOvation™ program for the specific purposes of fostering innovative thinking within the transportation design and construction industry and publicly recognizing its proven innovators. The name played off the meanings of three words—transportation, innovation and ovation. The program is aimed at educating elected officials and the public about the outstanding return on investment the public receives from key transportation infrastructure improvements.

“At a 2012 dinner in Memphis, friends of Don Brock, led by then Heritage Construction & Materials CEO Charlie Potts, hosted the largest one night fundraising dinner in the history of the ARTBA Foundation and re-named the program the Dr. J. Don Brock TransOvation™ Workshop & Exhibit in honor of his lifetime achievements.

“Don may have passed from this earth, but his legacy and pioneering spirit live on, and he will inspire a new generation of innovators who seek to build a better world for all through transportation infrastructure.

“ARTBA extends its deepest sympathies to his wife, Sam, and the entire Brock family.”

ARTBA Reports: Iowa State Gas Increase Signed into Law This Week; 12 States Considering Similar Plans, According to a New Report from the Transportation Investment Advocacy Center

d9cdad69-e8aa-4830-b455-58392c53ea55A 10 cents-per-gallon state gas tax increase signed into law Feb. 25 by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad (R) is the latest in a series of initiatives recently put forward by state governments to boost infrastructure funding, according to a new report from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA).

ARTBA’s Transportation Investment Advocacy Center© (TIAC) found there are currently 90 measures related to transportation funding awaiting action in 26 state legislatures. Among the findings:

  • Twelve states: Ga., Mich., Minn., Mo., Mont., Neb., N.J., S.C., S.D., Texas, Utah, and Wash.—are considering legislation to increase their gas tax or sales tax on gasoline.
  • Four states: Conn., N.H., N.M., and Texas—are considering legislation to protect their transportation funds from diversions.
  • Four states: Ark., Iowa, Mo., and Utah—have proposed legislation to convert their flat-rate excise tax on gasoline to a variable-rate tax.
  • Seven states: Conn., Ga., Minn., N.M., N.Y., Wash., and Wis.—have proposed bonds to pay for transportation projects.
  • Two states with variable-rate gas taxes—Ky. and N.C.—are considering legislation to instate or raise a “floor” on the tax in order to prevent it from collecting below a minimum amount.

State and local spending accounts for just under half of all highway and bridge capital outlays, according to an analysis from ARTBA’s Chief Economist Dr. Alison Premo Black. The federal government is the source, on average, of nearly 52 percent of annual highway and bridge capital improvements made by the states.

“Governors and state legislators recognize the negative impacts of deteriorating road and bridge conditions on the local economy, safety and mobility, and are taking action to fix the problem.” Black said.  “At the federal level, Congress should be taking a similar approach to finding a permanent solution for the Highway Trust Fund before highway and transit program funding expires at the end of May.”

The full “State Transportation Funding Initiatives Report” can be found on the TIAC website: www.transportationinvestment.org

American Road & Transportation Builders Association Chief Notes 100-Day Milestone Until the Next Possible Highway & Transit Program Shutdown

d9cdad69-e8aa-4830-b455-58392c53ea55American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) President & CEO Pete Ruane released the following statement Feb. 20, 2015:

Unknown“In just 100 days, authorization for the federal highway and transit program will end, absent action by the Congress.  Close observers know, however, that the Senate and House are only scheduled to be in session 55 and 36 days, respectively, before that legislative deadline occurs.  Where is the sense of urgency?

“The uncertainty caused by congressional action is already—again—having real world, negative economic consequences as states begin cutting back work plans because they don’t know if the funding will be there to pay the bills several months from now.

“Investing in the transportation infrastructure that facilitates freight movement and personal mobility is a basic responsibility of government.  It’s time for Congress and the President  to show they can govern by providing a permanent revenue solution for the Highway Trust Fund and then pivoting to enactment of a well-funded, multi-year program reauthorization.

“The clock is on the field.”