By Carolyn Kramer, manager, Transportation Investment Advocacy Center

Twenty-three states have passed legislation to support transportation investment so far in 2015, generating an estimated $11.3 billion in new revenue, an updated report by the Transportation Investment Advocacy Center™ shows. Over 170 measures were introduced in 2015, with 36 bills approved by state legislatures.

Comprehensive transportation funding plans incorporating motor fuel tax increases were passed in six states—Michigan, Idaho, Georgia, South Dakota, Utah, and Washington. Many of these plans contain a combination of transportation-related fee increases, including raising vehicle registration fees, taxes on alternative fuel or electric vehicles, and indexing fuel taxes to inflation. Additionally, two other states—Iowa and Nebraska—both approved measures to increase their state gasoline tax.

Recurring revenue was approved in two other states:

  • Delaware lawmakers on June 30 approved a bill to increase Department of Motor Vehicle fees for the first time in 25 years.
  • The North Carolina legislature passed a bill on Sept. 18 that eliminates Highway Fund transfers to the General Fund, and increases Division of Motor Vehicle fees (with quadrennial adjustments for inflation on certain fees), among other transportation-related fee increases.

One-time funding sources or bonds were approved by seven states.

Five statewide ballot measures were put before voters in 2015. Three passed:

  • An $85 million bond for transportation improvements in Maine;
  • A two-pronged proposal in Texas to dedicate $2.5 billion per year from the state general sales tax to the state’s transportation fund starting in 2018 and ending in 2033, and commit 35 percent of motor vehicle sales tax revenue over $5 billion a year starting in 2020 and expiring in 2030; and
  • Authorization for the Louisiana state treasurer to invest existing public funds into the newly-created state infrastructure bank solely for use on low-interest loans for local transportation projects.

Several states are still discussing the possibility of increasing transportation funds before the end of the year, with others planning to introduce measures in the 2016 legislative session. Thirty-five bills will carry over into the new year.

Read the full report.