Assembly Speaker Wants New Fee to Pay for Road Repairs
February 5, 2015
LA Times – Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins proposed a plan Wednesday for funding road maintenance with $1.8 billion in fees on California drivers. The fees would total roughly $52 annually for most people behind the wheel… Read more…
New DOT Study Examines Future Transportation Challenges
November 30, -0001
The Federal Highway Administration has estimated that approximately $77 billion in annual investment is needed to meet the needs of our federal highway system. Read more…
The entire 316-page report is available for viewing at “BeyondTraffic“.
The study was released with an introduction by Transportation Sec. Anthony Foxx who said, “Beyond Traffic is intended to open a national dialogue about what our country really needs and why we need it. It is a draft survey of major forces impacting transportation and a discussion of potential solutions that can be adopted to address those forces.”
By 2050, America’s population will grow by over 70 million, but rural populations are expected to continue declining. While that means fewer people in the countryside, it will mean more in Southern (and Western) mega-regions like Atlanta, Charlotte and the Greensboro-High Point-Winston-Salem area.
That means rural areas are likely to receive fewer transportation infrastructure dollars, if nothing changes in the currently funding structure.
The study highlights important lifestyle realities, too.
* Globally, the U.S. used to be listed as number 1 in roads; now it is number 16.
* The average person spends the equivalent of five vacation days each year sitting in traffic.
* Sixty-five percent of our roads are rated in less than good condition; a quarter of our bridges need significant repair; 45 percent of Americans lack access to transit.
* The federal gas tax is no longer enough to address our transportation needs. If the actions of the N.C. General Assembly are any indication, the state gas tax is also inadequate. State legislators are trying to adjust the way the state calculates the tax it puts on gas.
* In 2045 there will be nearly twice as many older Americans who are expected to be reliant on quality transit connections to medical and other services.
* In 2009, Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 drove 21 percent fewer miles than those in that age group did in 2001. Fewer young adults are getting their driver’s licenses. The total number of licensed drivers under the age of 34 actually declined between 2001 and 2012, despite an increasing population. Many are choosing to live in cities where they can bike, walk and take public transit to work or school.
To help address these concerns and more, the study has several recommendations.
Officials advocate finding new revenue sources that are not tied to fuel consumption such as taxes on vehicle miles traveled, vehicle registration fees or sales taxes could help to alleviate the downward pressure on revenues caused by declining fuel consumption.
Another idea is to expand the use of tolling and congestion pricing could help to reduce congestion, while generating revenues that could be used to finance the construction of new roadways and bridges or maintain existing facilities.
Study authors proposed public-private partnerships, where the private sector could finance the construction of new roads and carry a greater share of the risks.
Here are some other ways researchers say the country can avoid “drifting toward gridlock”:
* Increase infrastructure capacity: build new roads, bridges and other facilities; maintain existing facilities more effectively; use existing facilities more effectively by implementing better designs and technologies; or use some combination of these methods.
* Reduce congestion through land use, telework and flex-time work schedules, smaller and automated vehicles and pricing.
* Promote public transit, biking and walking.
By J.D. Walker
AASHTO Applauds President’s Proposed Transportation Investments
February 3, 2015
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials today commends President Obama for his proposed FY2016 federal budget, which reportedly includes $478 billion for transportation infrastructure investment over the next six years. Read more…
Obama’s Budget Includes Windfall for L.A. Transportation
February 3, 2015
Overall, Obama would spend more than $800 million on transit throughout the state — including $165 million to expand the Bay Area Rapid Transit system to San Jose and $150 million toward a light-rail project in San Diego — as he tries to make the case that infrastructure spending will propel a faster economic recovery. Read more...
CTC Allocates $174.8M to Upgrade State & Local Transportation Infrastructure
February 2, 2015
In Sacramento…California Transportation Commission has allocated $174.8 million to 85 transportation projects that will repair aging roads and bridges, alleviate traffic delays and support job growth statewide. For full story…
Fed Transportation Officials Endorse $150M Sacramento Streetcar Project
February 2, 2015
Federal transportation officials have preliminarily agreed to help fund a $150 million downtown Sacramento streetcar project this year, as long as Sacramento can come up with local matching funds in the next few months, according to local officials with knowledge of the federal plans. Read more…
Obama to Introduce $478B Highway Bill
February 2, 2015
Obama to unveil a $478 billion, six-year highway and transit bill, the latest effort by the White House to boost infrastructure. For full story…
Gov. Jerry Brown wants investment in California roads
January 12, 2015
Begin the costly task of repairing the state’s crumbling roads
The Sacramento Bee on Tuesday wrote: With the bipartisan water bond accord in their rear-view, California Gov. Jerry Brown implored lawmakers Monday to come together and begin the costly task of repairing the state’s crumbling roads. Brown said following passage of the $7.5 billion water bond that it’s equally important for the state to deal with its long-standing road and highway challenges. California faces $59 billion in deferred road maintenance, and the price tag to meet the state’s long-term transportation needs is significantly higher.
“Each year, we fall further and further behind and we must do something about it,” Brown said during a speech marking his fourth inauguration as governor. Asked afterward how he planned to accomplish his infrastructure goals, Brown said the task is “daunting” and declined to lay out a path to achieve it. Republicans said they support large-scale road repairs, but questioned Brown’s emphasis on the $68 billion high-speed rail project.
Last year, a coalition of transportation advocates proposed a ballot measure that would have more than doubled the vehicle license fee for road improvements. They abandoned the effort, which would have phased in a 1 percent license fee increase. The last statewide transportation bond approved by voters came in 2006. On Monday, Brown discounted the possibility of seeking bond funding, saying the state already has significant debt.
Will Kempton, executive director of Transportation California, said the state needs to find creative ways to pay for the debt, perhaps by charging fees based on how much a motorist drives.
Read more in the Bee here.
Video: US DOT Launches “Beyond Traffic”
February 2, 2015
US DOT launches Beyond Traffic, a framework that’s been a year in the making and will lay out the trends and choices facing American transportation over the next three decades.
Beyond Traffic examines trends and choices like:
- How will we move? America’s population will grow by 70 million by 2045. How will we build a transportation system to accommodate a growing population and changing travel patterns?
- How will we move things? By 2045, freight volume will increase 45 percent. How will we reduce freight chokepoints that drive up the cost of owning a business?
- How will we move better? Technological changes and innovation may transform vehicles and infrastructure, logistics, and delivery of transportation services to promote efficiency and safety. How will we knock down barriers to new technologies that promise to make travel safer and more convenient?
- How will we adapt? Climate change will include global mean sea level rise, temperature increases, and more frequent and intense storm events, all of which will impact highways, bridges, public transportation, coastal ports and waterways. How will we make our infrastructure more resilient to more frequent extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy?
- How will we align decisions and dollars? And invest the trillions of dollars our transportation needs in the smartest way possible?
Federal Govt Seeks National Conversation on Transportation
February 9, 2015
The Obama administration is attempting to start a national conversation about future transportation needs by releasing a report that identifies key demographic and other trends expected to shape the way Americans get from one place to another… Read more…