• TC Legislative Update – MWatts – 5/21/15

    November 30, 2015

    Click to view TC Legislative Update from Mark Watts – 5/21/15.

  • Major State Senate Transportation Funding Proposal Moves Forward Today

    November 30, 2015

    by Mark Watts.  The Senate Governance & Finance Committee today approved Senate Bill 16, a comprehensive transportation funding package which provides $3 billion – $3.5 billion annually to state and local highway and roadway preservation and repair over the next five years.

    SB 16, authored by Senate Transportation & Housing Chair Jim Beall, would generate new revenue for transportation by increasing several taxes and fees for the next five years.  Specifically, this bill would:

    • Recapture truck weight fees from transportation bond debt service for safety projects and highway repairs;
    • Raise the excise tax on gasoline by 10 cents in year one;
    • Raise the excise tax on diesel fuel by 12 cents in year one;
    • Raise vehicle license fees by .35% over five years;
    • Raise vehicle registration fees by $35;
    • Establish a new vehicle registration fee of $100 for zero-emission vehicles; and
    • Repay transportation loans.

    Speaker Atkins and Assembly Democrats Weigh in on Addressing State and Local Transportation Repair Needs

    Late yesterday, Assembly Speaker Atkins discussed the budget priorities for 2015-16. She highlighted the work she has been coordinating with Assembly Transportation Chair Jim Frazier and said:

    “Assembly Democrats will provide a ‘down-payment’ on the Speaker’s $2 billion transportation plan by returning most, if not all, the Truck Weight Fees to be used for roadway preservation and maintenance.”

  • SB 16 Approved by Senate Transportation & Housing on a 6-1 Vote

    April 29, 2015

    Wake Up California-fix the roads!

    (Mark Watts, Transportation California)  The Senate Transportation & Housing Committee on a 6-1 vote approved SB 16, Senator Beall’s measure to provide additional highway and roadway preservation and maintenance funding. Read more

  • TC Legislative Update – MWatts – 4/15/15

    April 15, 2015

    Click to view TC Legislative Update from Mark Watts – 4/15/15.

  • New Data Shows January Driving Topped 237 Billion Miles

    April 24, 2015

    WASHINGTON –The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) released new estimates today showing that Americans drove 237.3 billion miles this January, a significant increase over the previous January, prompting calls for greater investment in transportation infrastructure to address projected record-setting traffic volume in coming years.

    “These data make it clear that traffic volumes are growing nationwide,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “To keep our highways safe and less congested, we should not only invest in our nation’s infrastructure to expand capacity, but also look towards the future by encouraging greater technological innovations, which can make travel safer and more convenient.”

    The new estimates underscore projections made by Secretary Foxx in “Beyond Traffic,” a 30-year framework for the future of transportation, which projects a 43 percent increase in commercial truck shipments and population growth of 70 million in the next 30 years.

    According to FHWA’s latest “Traffic Volume Trends”, a monthly report that estimates U.S. road travel, Americans drove 4.9 percent more in January 2015 than in the same month in 2014, the highest single-month increase for any January since 2000. It is the nation’s 11th consecutive month of increased growth, as measured by vehicle-miles-traveled (VMT).

    These estimates are based on data collected from approximately 4,000 continuous traffic counting locations nationwide that evaluate the percent change in traffic for the current month compared with the same month in the previous year.

    Traffic in the North Central region comprised of 12 states, including Illinois, Michigan and Ohio, rose to 54 billion vehicle miles traveled (VMT), a gain of 7.4 percent over the previous January and the second consecutive month of increased traffic for the area.

    All states recorded traffic increases in January, except for five: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, which is likely due to unusually high snowfall in those states. At 12.1 percent, Indiana led the nation for the second month in a row with the largest single-state traffic increase compared to the same month a year earlier, followed closely by Colorado at 9.3 percent and Alaska at 9.1 percent.

    “These estimates are a central part of the research we conduct to understand and anticipate changing conditions on our roads and bridges,” said Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau. “Increased demand on America’s interstate system requires long-term infrastructure investment to ensure our nation can compete globally.”

    For the first time, the January 2015 report also includes seasonally adjusted data to enable VMT comparisons with January and any other month in any other year. Analysis of seasonally adjusted VMT is an alternative to analysis of unadjusted VMT, which traditionally uses comparisons of a month to the same month in previous years to determine trends.

    To review the VMT data in FHWA’s “Traffic Volume Trends” reports, which are based on information collected from more than 2,000 road-mounted sensors nationwide, visit http://www.fhwa.dot.gov.

    Secretary Foxx’s draft report “Beyond Traffic” can be viewed at http://www.dot.gov/BeyondTraffic and the viewing public is invited to share ideas at http://www.dot.gov/BeyondTraffic/ShareYourIdeas.

  • 2015 AASHTO Bottom Line Report

    November 30, 2015

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has released the Executive Version of their 2015 Bottom Line Report. Access here….

  • LAO 2015-16 Budget: Transportation Proposals

    March 9, 2015

    LAO’s 2015-16 Budget overview of transportation proposals is available.  Access here….

  • AASHTO: Nation at a Crossroads

    March 4, 2015

    Nation at a Crossroads,” multimedia campaign launched by AASHTO calls on lawmakers to “think big” and long term, rather than continuing their pattern of short-term budget bills.

     

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    State transportation officials are pitching Congress hard for long-term investment into the federal Highway Trust Fund.

    The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials has launched “Nation at a Crossroads,” a multimedia campaign that calls on lawmakers to “think big” and long term, rather than continuing their pattern of short-term budget bills.

    Campaign Features

    The federal surface transportation authorization is scheduled to expire in May, and the Highway Trust Fund is expected to run out of money again this summer, according to AASHTO.

    The website features an infographic on the challenge, threat, solution and real impact of the Highway Trust Fund.

    The campaign urges policymakers to consider what is achievable in remaking transportation to aid quality of life and commerce, instead of bandaging problems with stopgap funds.

    The campaign website also features a “state impact” section that provides state-level information showing how federal funding affects transportation investment priorities.

    Investment Needs

    The 2015 “Bottom Line Report” by AASHTO and the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) found that the combined efforts of federal, state and local governments in both highway and transit spending are well below the investment levels needed to maintain current facilities and keep pace with rising population and freight traffic.

    “Instead of focusing on crumbling infrastructure, we ask the questions: ‘What if our system could keep up? How much brighter could our future be?’” said Bud Wright, AASHTO Executive Director.

    “The reality is that the recent pattern of short-term funding actions hampers states’ ability to even plan for the next construction season,” Wright said.

  • TRIP California Report Released

    December 1, 2014

    Deficient roadways cost each Los Angeles area driver nearly $2,500 annually, a total of $44 billion statewide. Costs will rise and transportation woes will worsen without significant funding boost.
    To learn more, visit TRIPNet.org

  • Spearheading Efforts to Protect and Enhance Transportation Funding

    September 2, 2014

    For more than two decades, Transportation California has spearheaded efforts to protect and enhance funding for transportation infrastructure in the Golden State. Marshaling the resources of the construction industry, key labor organizations and the business community, Transportation California has established itself as the authoritative voice on transportation issues and the driving force behind key measures to promote infrastructure investment.

    Despite the many successes of Transportation California and its allies over the past two decades, investment in transportation infrastructure falls woefully short of meeting basic needs to serve the State’s growing population and dynamic economy. Small incremental gains will not do the job. Substantial new revenue streams must be put in place and sequestered from the annual fiscal turmoil that plagues California’s budget process.

    The Challenge Ahead
    Transportation California has launched an intensive effort to educate public officials, opinion leaders and the motoring public about the consequences of inaction and the need to bring user fees up to the level where they can support rehabilitation of the state’s crumbling transportation infrastructure. The logical source for new transportation revenues is user fees. Not counting the 2010 “gas tax swap,” which merely exchanged the State sales tax on gasoline for a comparable excise tax levy, the state gas tax has remained static at 18 cents since it was last raised in 1994. The gas tax would need to be increased by 8-cents per gallon just to catch up with inflation over this period. While there traditionally has been resistance to increasing the gas tax, the reality is that a 10-cent increase would cost the average motorist less than $5 a month. User fees, like the gas tax, ensure that those who use the system pay for it. A modest increase in another user fee, which would be collected like the Vehicle license fee (VLF), could raise $3 billion annually in new revenue. Cap and Trade fees generated from burning fossil fuel in cars and trucks could be dedicated to the maintenance and improvement of California’s transportation system. An assessment for miles driven also would begin to raise the money necessary to bring California’s transportation system into the 21st century.

    a coastal roadThe case for substantially increased user fees is compelling. The average motorist pays out upwards of $100 a month in repairs, wear and tear, reduced gas mileage and lost time because of congested, poorly maintained roads. The inability to move people, goods and services efficiently is undermining our economy. The Federal Highway Administration calculates that every dollar invested in transportation infrastructure produces $5.20 in benefits.

    Making the Sale
    image of an overpassTransportation California has been working for over two years to lay the groundwork for a major push to move forward for a new revenue source that will end hand-to-mouth funding and put the construction industry to work building the transportation system of the future.

    There is growing consensus on the need to get transportation funding on a sound footing once and for all. It is imperative that we follow up on all fronts—building the strongest possible coalition, educating the public and convincing elected officials that action is imperative.

    scorecard graphic
    Our efforts to create new funds for transportation and prevent state borrowing of those funds have put Transportation California in the forefront of transportation advocacy. We have:

    • Taken the lead in working for stable new revenue sources to fund California’s transportation needs
    • Led the continuing effort to preserve transportation funding in the State Budget in the face of unprecedented fiscal crises in California. As a result, transportation infrastructure has fared better than virtually any major sector in avoiding cutbacks during the past five years
    • Negotiated the 2010 “gas tax swap” which removed transportation from the General Fund and actually increased revenue for basic transportation programs
    • Partnered with the California Alliance for Jobs to win overwhelming approval of Proposition 1A to safeguard transportation funds and Proposition 1B to provide more than $19 billion in bond money for transportation
    • Taken the lead in passing Proposition 42 (sales tax on gasoline) to increase funds for transportation projects and spearheaded the Fund Prop. 42 Coalition.
    • Passed Proposition 2, a measure which prevents diversion of gas tax funds to non-transportation purposes
    • Led the fight for Proposition 192 to support earthquake retrofitting
    • Supported passage of AB1012 to expedite delivery of transportation projects