Tag Archive for 'gas tax'

Short Video Message from ARTBA President & CEO David Bauer

ARTBA Reports: U.S. DOT Announces $1.5 Billion in New Transportation Grants

Secretary Chao, center, Dec. 11 announced the BUILD grants at U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) headquarters in Washington, D.C. She was joined by U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing &Urban Development (THUD) Chair Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and ranking member Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), House Appropriations THUD Subcommittee Chair Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) and ranking member Rep. David Price (D-N.C.), and Youngstown, Ohio, Mayor Jamael Brown.

By Eileen Houlihan, senior writer/editor, ARTBA

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao Dec. 11 announced $1.5 billion in discretionary grant funding to 91 projects in 49 states and the District of Columbia. The grants are made through the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation Grants program and support road, rail, transit, and port infrastructure projects across the country.

Two-thirds of the projects involve roads. Some of the biggest awards include completing a 4.8-mile, four-lane interstate facility in southwest Missouri that will bypass US-71 and connect to Interstate 49 in Arkansas; repairing and upgrading approximately 3.5 miles of high-use service roads in the Lower Yukon River Regional Port in Alaska; extending the Hot Springs East-West Arterial Bypass in Arkansas; building improvements on approximately 9 miles of State Road 19 in Mississippi; and replacing approximately 77 bridges in 17 rural counties in North Carolina.

The grants will contribute to the construction or refurbishment of over 200 bridges nationwide, from North Carolina to the refurbishment of the Brooklyn Bridge. See the full list of projects.

BUILD grants were known previously as TIGER grants. The maximum grant award is $25 million for a single project, and no more than $150 million can be awarded to a single state. There is a $5 million minimum award for projects located in urban areas and a $1 million minimum for rural projects.

ARTBA Report to Congress Says Raise the Gas Tax to Address Interstates

By Eileen Houlihan, senior writer/editor, ARTBA

Congress should legislate an Interstate Highway System renewal and modernization program that focuses on reconstructing the aging and heavily-used infrastructure and pay for it in the near-term by increasing the federal gas tax, a new report to Congress says.

The “Renewing the National Commitment to the Interstate Highway System: A Foundation for the Future” report, released Dec. 6 by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Transportation Research Board (TRB) and funded through the 2015 FAST Act surface transportation law, also calls for adjusting the federal fuel tax as needed to account for inflation and changes in vehicle fuel economy.

The report did not address a specific amount to raise the federal fuel taxes, but noted the current level of spending on the Interstates at $20 billion to $25 billion annually is “much too low – by at least 50 percent – to proceed with long-deferred rebuilding of the system’s aging and deteriorating pavements and bridges.” The committee said more than $30 billion per year is needed over the next 20 years to just repair and rebuild existing damage, and an additional investment of approximately $45 billion to $70 billion per year will be required to expand and manage the system’s capacity to handle future traffic.

It recommends lifting the ban on tolling of existing Interstate highways, a “rightsizing” of the system to address current and emerging demands and to remediate economic, social and environmental disruptions caused to some communities by the system, and address concerns about climate change and accommodate automated vehicles.

“As the nation moves further into the 21st century and as transformations, in the vehicle fleet and vulnerabilities due to climate change place new demands on the country’s transportation infrastructure, the prospect of an aging and worn Interstate Highway System that operates unreliably is concerning,” the report noted. The Interstate Highway System is a vital part of the U.S. economy. It is the foundation of the National Highway System (NHS) – which includes ties to ports, airports and other major intermodal transportation facilities.  Although the NHS represents just 4 percent of public roads, it carries more than 40 percent of the nation’s highway traffic and 70 percent of the truck freight traffic that moves people and goods across the country.

The report added that when much of the Interstate system was built in the 1960s and 1970s, little was known about the threat of climate change. The report recommends transportation agencies across the country make changes to how they plan, design, construct operate and maintain the system to make it more resilient and less vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

In addition, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), in a Dec. 7 op-ed in The Washington Post, said “any infrastructure bill that wants Democratic support in the Senate” will have to include policies and funding that help transition the country to a clean-energy economy and mitigate the risks the U.S. faces from climate change.

TRB’s 14-person committee to research the Interstate report included 2006 ARTBA Chairman Dr. Michael Walton of the University of Texas at Austin.

Walton, who spoke during a webinar at the TRB release of the report, said much of the funding and financing question will vary by state, citing, for example, tolling. “What works in one state may not in others,” Walton noted. The original Interstate highway construction program was a collaborative commitment among the states and the federal government. A comparable partnership is needed to ensure resiliency and respond to the changing demands of users, the report said.

ARTBA economic data continues to show that federal funds on average provide more than half of all annual state department of transportation capital outlays for highway and bridge projects.

ARTBA Reports: Voters Across the Nation Demonstrate Support for Transportation Investment

Nearly 80 percent of State & Local Ballot Measures Approved

Voters in 31 states Nov. 6 once again showed their support for transportation infrastructure investments, approving 272, or 79 percent, of 346 state and local ballot measures. In total, the approved initiatives are expected to generate over $30 billion in one-time and recurring revenue, according to the analysis conducted by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s Transportation Investment Advocacy Center™ (ARTBA-TIAC).

The 2018 preliminary results reaffirmed the trend of recent years, demonstrating strong voter support for investments to maintain and improve state and local transportation networks. Including 2018, voters have approved 78 percent of nearly 1,700 transportation investment ballot measures tracked by ARTBA-TIAC since 2009.

In the most closely watched initiative of 2018, California voters turned back Proposition 6, an effort to repeal an increase in the state gasoline and diesel motor fuels tax that had been approved by the legislature as part of a 2017 transportation funding law. The 55 percent to 45 percent decision by voters will help preserve more than $50 billion for urgently-needed highway, bridge, and transit improvements in California over a 10-year period.

“By soundly rejecting Proposition 6 and re-electing 95 percent of the state legislators who voted in 2017 to increase the state gas tax to fund needed transportation improvements, California voters showed the public continues to support a user-funded approach to infrastructure investment. That’s a message the Trump administration and new Congress should heed as they consider a bipartisan infrastructure package and permanent revenue solution for Highway Trust Fund programs next year,” said ARTBA Acting President and CEO William D. Toohey, Jr.

The California repeal attempt was part of a larger effort by Congressional leaders to increase Republican voter turnout in several key California Congressional districts. “In ginning up and funding the Prop. 6 repeal initiative as a ‘get out the vote’ ploy, the U.S. House Republican leadership nearly deprived California citizens and businesses of over $5 billion a year in transportation congestion relief projects. That was both wrong and short-sighted,” Toohey added.

Additional highlights of the TIAC report include:

  • A proposed state gas tax increase in Missouri met unexpected resistance at the polls, with voters rejecting the measure 54 percent to 46 percent.
  • In Colorado, voters rejected two measures to provide new transportation investments. Proposition 109, a measure to provide one-time funding with a $3.5 billion bond, was rejected 39 percent to 61 percent. Proposition 110, which would have increased the state sales tax by 0.62 percent for 20 years and provided an initial jumpstart with a $6 billion bond, also failed, 40 percent to 60 percent.
  • Statewide measures to protect transportation funds from being diverted to non-transportation purposes passed in Connecticut and Louisiana.

Earlier in the year, voters approved 192 measures for an additional $6.4 billion in transportation revenue. The market impact of these ballot measures is difficult to project as revenue approved ranges from immediate one-time investment to a contribution made annually for as long as 30 years.

The complete report and an interactive map showing the state-by-state results can be found at www.transportationinvestment.org.

TIAC operations are supported by ARTBA’s “Transportation Makes America Work” program.

Established in 1902, ARTBA represents the U.S. transportation construction industry before Congress, the White House, federal agencies, the courts, news media, and general public.

NEW TRIP REPORT IDENTIFIES U.S. URBAN AREAS WITH ROUGHEST ROADS AND HIGHEST COSTS TO DRIVERS – AS MUCH AS $1,049 ANNUALLY

TRIP:  NEW REPORT IDENTIFIES U.S. URBAN AREAS WITH ROUGHEST ROADS AND HIGHEST COSTS TO DRIVERS – AS MUCH AS $1,049 ANNUALLY. AS TRAVEL GROWTH INCREASES, ROAD CONDITIONS EXPECTED TO DECLINE FURTHER WITHOUT ADDITIONAL FUNDING AT LOCAL, STATE & FEDERAL LEVELS.

 Driving on deteriorated urban roads costs motorists as much as $1,049 annually, according to a new report that evaluates pavement conditions in the nation’s large (500,000+ population) and mid-sized (200,000-500,000 population) urban areas and calculates the additional costs passed on to motorists as a result of driving on rough roads. Driving on roads in disrepair increases consumer costs by increasing needed repairs, maintenance, fuel consumption, and tire wear, and accelerating vehicle deterioration and depreciation.

These findings were released today by TRIP, a national transportation research group based in Washington, D.C. The report, “Bumpy Roads Ahead: America’s Roughest Rides and Strategies to make our Roads Smoother,” examines urban pavement conditions, transportation funding, travel trends, and economic development. Pavement condition and vehicle operating costs for urban areas with populations of 200,000 or greater can be found in the report and appendices. The charts below detail the top 20 large and mid-sized urban areas with the highest share of pavements on major locally and state-maintained roads and highways in poor condition, and the highest vehicle operating costs (VOC).

In 2016 one-third (33 percent) of the nation’s major urban roads – Interstates, freeways and other arterial routes – had pavements that were in substandard condition and provided an unacceptably rough ride to motorists, costing the average driver $599 annually. The nationwide annual cost to motorists of driving on deteriorated roads totals $130 billion.

“Drivers are paying a hefty price for our nation’s crumbling roads and bridges,” said Kathleen Bower, AAA senior vice president of public affairs and international relations. “Those traveling daily through urban cities bear the weight of the problem – with many wasting thousands of dollars each year on rising transportation costs due to potholes and wasted fuel. AAA urges Congress and the current administration to prioritize transportation infrastructure improvements to ensure safe, efficient and reliable mobility across the United States.”

Road conditions could deteriorate further as the rate of vehicle travel continues to increase and local and state governments find themselves unable to adequately fund road repairs.

With vehicle travel growth rates returning to pre-recession levels and large truck travel anticipated to grow significantly, mounting wear and tear on the nation’s urban roads and highways is expected to increase the cost of needed highway repairs.  Vehicle miles of travel in the U.S. increased by 16 percent from 2000 to 2016 and increased by six percent in just the three years from 2013 to 2016. Travel by large commercial trucks in the U.S. increased by 29 percent from 2000 to 2016 and is anticipated to increase by approximately 56 percent from 2018 to 2045, putting even greater stress on the nation’s roadways.

“The needs of our nation’s infrastructure continue to grow. This report provides clear evidence that deteriorating roads are a strain on motorists and bad for the economy,” said U.S. Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Transportation and Infrastructure Ed Mortimer. “It is past time for federal lawmakers to come together to enact a long-term infrastructure modernization plan.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) semi-annual report on the condition, use and funding needs of the nation’s surface transportation program found that the current backlog in needed road and highway rehabilitation is $419.5 billion and that the nation’s current $41 billion annual investment in maintaining the condition of roads and highways should be increased by 33 percent to $61 billion annually to improve the condition of America’s roads and highways.

“Motorists are facing a rough ride in many urban areas because of a lack of adequate funding for road repairs,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Some states and regional governments have begun to address their needs through recent funding increases, but it will also take action by the federal government. Congress can help by fixing the federal Highway Trust Fund with a sustainable source of user-fee based revenue.”

Bumpy Road Ahead:

AMERICA’S ROUGHEST RIDES AND STRATEGIES TO

MAKE OUR ROADS SMOOTHER

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: KEY FACTS ABOUT OUR NATION’S URBAN ROADS

Keeping the wheel steady on America’s roads and highways have become increasingly challenging as drivers encounter potholes and pavement deterioration. One-third of the nation’s major urban roadways – highways and major streets that are the main routes for commuters and commerce – are in poor condition.  These critical links in the nation’s transportation system carry 70 percent of the approximately 3.2 trillion miles driven annually in America. Road conditions could deteriorate even further as the rate of vehicle travel continues to increase and local and state governments find they are unable to adequately fund road repairs.

In this report, TRIP examines the condition of the nation’s major roads, including pavement condition data for America’s most populous urban areas, recent trends in travel, the latest developments in repairing roads and building them to last longer, and the funding levels needed to adequately address America’s deteriorated roadways.

For the purposes of this report, an urban area includes the major city in a region and its neighboring or surrounding suburban areas.  Pavement condition data are the latest available and are derived from the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) 2016 annual survey of state transportation officials on the condition of major state and locally maintained roads and highways, based on a uniform pavement rating index.  The pavement rating index measures the level of smoothness of pavement surfaces, supplying information on the ride quality provided by road and highway surfaces.  Following are the major findings of the TRIP report.

THE NATION’S URBAN ROADS ARE INCREASINGLY DETERIORATED

One-third (33 percent) of the nation’s major urban roads are rated in poor condition, providing drivers with a rough ride. The charts below detail the top 20 U.S. urban areas with the highest share of major roads in poor condition. The report’s Appendix includes pavement condition data for all U.S. urban areas with a population of 200,000 or more.

 ROUGH URBAN ROADS COME WITH HIGH COSTS TO DRIVERS

The average motorist in the U.S. is losing $599 annually – a total of $130 billion nationally – in additional vehicle operating costs (VOC) as a result of driving on roads in need of repair. These costs include additional repair costs, accelerated vehicle deterioration and depreciation, increased maintenance costs, and additional fuel consumption. The chart below details the top 20 U.S. urban areas (500,000+ population and 200,000-500,000 population) where motorists pay the highest annual vehicle operating costs as a result of driving on rough roads. The report’s appendix includes VOC data for all urban areas with a population of 200,000 or more.

 

TRAVEL AND POPULATION GROWTH ARE FURTHER STRAINING TRANSPORTATION NETWORK

Vehicle travel in the U.S. increased 16 percent from 2000 to 2016, while the nation’s population grew 15 percent from 2000 to 2017. Travel by large commercial trucks increased 29 percent from 2000 to 2016. The additional travel increases the amount of road, highway and bridge investment needed to improve conditions and meet the nation’s transportation needs.

 

A SIGNIFICANT BOOST IN FUNDING IS NEEDED TO IMPROVE ROADWAY CONDITIONS

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) semi-annual report on the condition, use and funding needs of the nation’s surface transportation program found that the current backlog in needed road and highway rehabilitation is $419.5 billion and that the nation’s current $41 billion annual investment in maintaining the condition of roads and highways should be increased by 33 percent to $61 billion annually to improve the condition of America’s roads and highways.

TRANSPORTATION INVESTMENT STRENGTHENS THE ECONOMY

The design, construction, and maintenance of transportation infrastructure in the U.S. play a critical role in the nation’s economy, supporting the equivalent of four million full-time jobs across all sectors of the nation’s economy.  Approximately 63 million full-time jobs in the U.S. in key industries like tourism, retail sales, agriculture, and manufacturing are dependent on the quality, safety and reliability of America’s transportation infrastructure network.

For the full report visit TRIP