2012-07-02: Federal highway and transit funding for the states got "reauthorized" for another two years in a vote June 29 after the usual protracted Washington DC 'gridlock' and political drama. With the latest of a bunch of extensions expiring June 30 majorities suddenly appeared for a compromise. The new law becomes the 'Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act' or MAP21.
Senate negotiators traded off pro- and anti-toll amendments in gaining a majority for S1813, the stopgap bill that reauthorizes bloated federal highway and transit handouts based on a diminishing stream of gasoline tax collections and a whole array of budgetary accounting gimmicks and wishful thinking.
Senator James Inhofe (Repub-OK), a socalled Ranking Member, at the July 21 hearing explaining why the Committee was able only to publish an "outline" of its proposed highway bill:
House transport committee chair Mica this week "rolled out" a reactionary reauthorization plan that seeks to reduce the scope for state, local and investor initiative and prevent financing of interstate reconstruction and the development of HOT lane networks. Far from harnessing the power of the market and encouraging state, local and private sector initiatives Mica's thoroughly negative scheme would impose new US government roadblocks.
The National Journal (NJ) runs a regular transportation "Expert Blog" that is often worth a glance for the insight it provides into DC insiders thinking. Though you have to laugh at some of the people deemed 'transportation experts.' Our favorite Nat Journal 'transportation expert' is Parris Glendening, a governor of our state a couple of terms back, whose main contribution to transportation was to obstruct it in the name of 'smart growth.'
A draft of the Obama Administration's proposed surface transportation reauthorization bill would allow states more flexibility to toll interstates. It would end the "pilot programs" with their detailed supervision and numerical limits and substitute broader approval in two major categories:
- metropolitan congestion reduction
- interstate system improvement
James Oberstar, house transportation committee chairman is pushing a new version of his reauthorization bill. We've just spent several hours watching a video of the congressman's committee hearing of March 26 after several people said we'd got him wrong on tolling interstates in an earlier report (http://www.tollroadsnews.com/node/4672) We've made a transcript of his comments in context.
by Marcus J. Lemon
On June 18, 2009, the leaders of the House Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee published a blueprint of their proposed $450 billion six-year reauthorization of the federal surface transportation program.
The US House transportation committee's 'Surface Transportation Authorization Act of 2009' (STAA2009) released today proposes a heavy hit on tolling, road pricing and traffic management. It would revoke four longstanding federal legal authorities for tolling while providing general authority to control toll projects at a new "Office of Public Benefit" within FHWA.
STAA2009 would terminate: