Tag Archive for 'Highway Bill'

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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.



Roads and bridges that are deteriorated, congested or lack some desirable safety features cost New York drivers $24.8 billion per year – as much as $2,768 per driver – due to higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays. Adequate investment in transportation improvements at the local, state and federal levels is needed to relieve traffic congestion, improve road, bridge, and transit conditions, boost safety, and support long-term economic growth in New York, according to a new report recently released TRIP, a Washington, DC-based national nonprofit transportation research organization.

The TRIP report, New York Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s  Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility,”finds that throughout the state, nearly half of major locally and state-maintained roads are in poor or mediocre condition and 10 percent of locally and state-maintained bridges (20 feet or longer) are in poor condition. The report also finds that the state’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, causing significant delays and choking commuting and commerce. In addition to the statewide report, TRIP has produced customized regional reports for the Albany-Schenectady-Troy, Binghamton, Buffalo-Niagara Falls, New York-Newark-Jersey City, Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, Rochester, Syracuse, and Utica areas.

Driving on deficient New York roads costs state’s drivers a total of $24.8 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs (VOC) as a result of driving on rough roads, lost time and fuel due to congestion-related delays, and the costs of traffic crashes in which roadway features likely were a contributing factor. The chart below details costs to drivers of driving on deficient roads statewide and in New York’s eight largest urban areas.

The TRIP report finds that 28 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads in New York are in poor condition and another 21 percent are rated in mediocre condition, costing the state’s motorist an additional $7 billion each year in extra vehicle operating costs. These costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

“Many New Yorkers know the poor road conditions in our state lead to wear and tear on our cars and wallets; but now we have irrefutable evidence of the real cost of failing roads and bridges that continue to be ignored,” said Gib Gagnon, chairman of Rebuild NY Now. “Every dollar of deferred maintenance on our roads and bridges will cost taxpayers an additional four to five dollars in future repairs. These shocking figures are no longer ‘hidden costs.’ They are an alarming call to action to our representatives around the State. Simply patching our roads and bridges will not do the job; now is the time to rebuild our economy and infrastructure for a better New York.”

Traffic congestion in New York is worsening, causing up to 74 annual hours of delay for the average motorist in the largest urban areas and costing the state’s drivers a total of $13 billion each year in lost time and wasted fuel.

In New York, 10 percent of bridges (1,771 of 17,444) are in poor condition, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components and another 53 percent (9,313 of 17,444) are rated in fair condition, indicating some deterioration to major components of the bridge.  This includes all bridges that are 20 feet or more in length. More than half – 52 percent – of New York’s bridges are at least 50 years old.

From 2012 to 2016, a total of 5,552 people were killed in traffic crashes in New York. The financial impact of traffic crashes costs New York drivers a total of $4.8 billion.  New York’s overall traffic fatality rate of 0.83 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is lower than the national average of 1.18. The fatality rate on New York’s non-interstate rural roads is approximately three and a half times higher than on all other roads in the state (2.11 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.60).

The efficiency and condition of New York’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy.  Annually, $1.3 trillion in goods are shipped to and from sites in New York, mostly by trucks, relying heavily on the state’s network of roads and bridges. Increasingly, companies are looking at the quality of a region’s transportation system when deciding where to re-locate or expand. Regions with congested or poorly maintained roads may see businesses relocate to areas with a smoother, more efficient and more modern transportation system. Approximately 3.5 million full-time jobs in New York in key industries like tourism, retail sales, agriculture and manufacturing are completely dependent on the state’s transportation network.

“Driving on deficient New York roads comes with a $24.8 billion yearly price tag for the state’s motorists,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Adequate funding for the state’s transportation system would allow for smoother roads, more efficient mobility, enhanced safety, and economic growth opportunities while saving New York’s drivers time and money.”

New York Transportation

by the Numbers

Meeting The State’s Need For

Safe, Smooth And Efficient Mobility



Driving on New York roads that are deteriorated, congested and that lack some desirable safety features costs New York drivers a total of $24.8 billion each year. TRIP has calculated the cost to the average motorist in the state’s largest urban areas in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC) as a result of driving on rough roads, the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to congestion, and the financial cost of traffic crashes.In addition to the statewide report, TRIP has produced customized regional reports for the Albany-Schenectady-Troy, Binghamton, Buffalo-Niagara Falls, New York-Newark-Jersey City, Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, Rochester, Syracuse, and Utica areas.


Due to inadequate state and local funding, 49 percent of major roads and highways in New York are in poor or mediocre condition. Driving on rough roads costs the average New York driver $587 annually in additional vehicle operating costs.

A 2017 report by Rebuild New York found that the state faces a $5.5 billion backlog in needed pavement repairs for state-maintained roads and highways. The report also calculated that the state’s annual $325 million paving budget would need to be increased by 60 percent (to $520 million annually) to maintain current pavement conditions, and would need to be more than doubled (to $710 million annually) to improve pavement conditions on state-maintained roads and highways.

Pavements on thirty-four percent of the 559-mile New York Thruway system are rated in poor or very poor condition, 28 percent are rated in fair condition and 38 percent are rated in good or excellent condition.


Ten percent of New York’s bridges are in poor condition, meaning there is a significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. Most bridges are designed to last 50 years before major overhaul or replacement, although many newer bridges are being designed to last 75 years or longer. In New York, 52 percent of the state’s bridges (9,039 of 17,444) was built in 1969 or earlier.

Approximately two-thirds (531 of 809) of bridges on the New York Thruway system are more than 60-years-old.


Congested roads choke commuting and commerce and cost New York drivers $13 billion each year in the form of lost time and wasted fuel. In the most congested urban areas, drivers lose up to $1,765 and more than three full days each year in congestion.


From 2012 to 2016, 5,552 people were killed in traffic crashes in New York. Traffic crashes imposed a total of $14.3 billion in economic costs in New York in 2016 and traffic crashes in which roadway features were likely a contributing factor imposed $4.8 billion in economic costs – an average of $398 per New York driver.


The health and future growth of New York’s economy is riding on its transportation system. Each year, $1.3 trillion in goods are shipped to and from sites in New York, mostly by truck. Increases in passenger and freight movement will place further burdens on the state’s already deteriorated and a congested network of roads and bridges.

The design, construction, and maintenance of transportation infrastructure in New York support 318,604 full-time jobs across all sectors of the state economy. These workers earn $9.8 billion annually. Approximately 3.5 million full-time jobs in New York in key industries like tourism, retail sales, agriculture, and manufacturing are completely dependent on the state’s transportation network.


As New York works to build and enhance a thriving, growing and dynamic state, it will be critical that it is able to address the state’s most significant transportation issues by providing a 21stcentury network of roads, highways, bridges, and transit that can accommodate the mobility demands of a modern society.

New York will need to modernize its surface transportation system by improving the physical condition of its transportation network and enhancing the system’s ability to provide efficient, safe and reliable mobility for residents, visitors and businesses. Making needed improvements to the state’s roads, highways, bridges, and transit systems would provide a significant boost to the economy by creating jobs in the short term and stimulating long-term economic growth as a result of enhanced mobility and access.

Despite the modest funding increase provided by the FAST Act, numerous projects to improve the condition and expand the capacity of New York’s roads, highways, bridges and transit systems will not be able to proceed without a substantial boost in state or local transportation funding.  If New York is unable to complete needed transportation projects it will hamper the state’s ability to improve the condition and efficiency of its transportation system or enhance economic development opportunities and quality of life.

TRIP has also prepared customized regional  reports for the Albany-Schenectady-Troy, BinghamtonBuffalo-Niagara Falls,  New York-Newark-Jersey CityPoughkeepsie-Newburgh-MiddletownRochester, Syracuse and Utica areas

For the full report visit TRIP

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.