Looking Back at 2014
Transportation was a hot topic with state legislatures in 2014, with 66 bills introduced across the country. Twenty-four transportation-related bills were approved, with funding legislation approved in 11 states. Of those states, both Rhode Island and New Hampshire passed state gas tax increases. Eight statewide transportation ballot measures were put before voters, with five measures increasing transportation investment approved. Twenty-three additional bills are pending action as states approach the 2015 legislative session.
To learn more about 2014 state transportation legislation, read our latest State Transportation Funding Initiatives Monthly Report here: http://www.transportationinvestment.org/category/state-funding-initiatives-report/
States Talking About Transportation Funding Increases in 2015
Alabama: Governor Robert Bentley (R) announced December 13 a $508.5 million state highway bond issue to be released in 2015.
Connecticut: Governor Dannel P. Malloy (D) announced his intention to make transportation a priority in the upcoming 2015 legislative session during a December 10 speech at the forum “Getting to Work: Transportation and Job Access for the 21st Century.”
Georgia: A legislative committee assigned to analyze and find solutions to the state’s transportation funding shortfall is expected to present several recommendations to the General Assembly in January. Several state lawmakers have predicted transportation will be the focus of the upcoming 2015 legislative session.
Iowa: Governor Terry Brandstad (R) November 6 declared that increasing funding for the state’s road-use tax fund a top priority during the 2015 legislative session. House Transportation Committee Vice Chairman Brian Moore (R-Bellevue) and Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Tod Bowman (D-Maquoketa) agreed the state fuel tax would be the primary focus when the Legislature convenes.
Minnesota: During his successful campaign for reelection in 2014, Governor Mark Dayton (D) proposed new transportation funding, including the option of a sales tax on the wholesale price of gasoline. Former House Transportation Committee Chair, Representative Frank Hornstein (D-Minneapolis) and current Senate Transportation Committee Chair, Senator Scott Dibble (D-Minneapolis) also voiced support for a gasoline sales tax.
New Jersey: Facing a $620 million shortfall for FY 2016, numerous lawmakers have campaigned for transportation funding solutions in 2015. Several bills to generate revenue for the state’s roads and bridges have already been filed in anticipation for the 2015 legislative session. Governor Chris Christie (R) also stated his intent to work with lawmakers on a transportation funding solution.
North Carolina: Governor Pat McCrory (R) stated his intention September 17 to ask the 2015 General Assembly for over $1 billion in bonds to “kick-start” a series of transportation projects within the state. McCrory also said he planned to recommend new transportation revenue sources as well.
South Carolina: A group of bipartisan lawmakers announced September 22 they are prepared to raise South Carolina’s gas tax in order to fund necessary repairs to the state’s roads and bridges and stated their intent to pass a road funding bill in 2015. One transportation bill has already been filed in preparation for the 2015 legislative session, with more anticipated by the time legislatures convene in January. At that time, a legislative panel commissioned to formulate solutions for the transportation funding shortfall is expected to have recommendations for the General Assembly.
South Dakota: South Dakota lawmakers on the state’s Highway Needs and Financing Committee approved a transportation funding proposal November 7 that would raise more than $100 million in new revenue from a variety of funding mechanisms during the first year. In addition, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard (R) announced during his December 3 budget proposal , “This is a year that we need to act to adequately fund our roads.”
Tennessee: Tennessee Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey (R) voiced his support for an increase in the state gas tax in a December 11 press conference. Governor Bill Haslam (R) stated December 3 that Tennessee’s gas tax, last raised in 1989, is not keeping up with the state’s transportation funding needs and will need to be increased.
Texas: In preparation for the new session, Texas lawmakers have already filed four bills for the 2015 legislative agenda to protect and increase transportation funds within the state. Governor-elect Greg Abbott (R) also released a plan December 9 to add $4 billion per year for road construction and maintenance.
Utah: Utah Governor Gary Herbert (R) included transportation funding in his list of 2015 priorities and appealed to lawmakers to find a long-term funding solution for the state’s roads and bridges. After a December 2 Legislative Interim Transportation Committee meeting that discussed possible solutions to the transportation funding shortfall, Senator Wayne Harper (R-Taylorsville) stated his intention to sponsor a transportation bond bill of $1.2 billion.
Wisconsin: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) said he is considering replacing all or part of the state gas tax with a sales tax on gasoline and alternative vehicle fuel purchases. Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb released a four-part plan November 14, estimated to generate $751 million over two years in new transportation funding revenue.
Washington: Washington Governor Jay Inslee December 16 unveiled a $12 billion state transportation funding plan. The 12-year proposal would be funded with a combination of bonds, fees, and a new carbon tax estimated to generate $400 million per year alone.