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Posts Tagged ‘C. Kenneth Orski’

States’ Transportation Revenue Initiatives Help to Compensate for an Absence of Congressional Action on Long-Term Funding

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Innovation Newsbriefs
Vol. 25, No.
While transportation stakeholders and the Washington press corps focus on the impending insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund and bemoan the fact that the House-Senate agreement to replenish the Trust Fund provides only short-term funding ($10.8 billion) through May 2015, they are ignoring developments outside the Beltway that go a long way toward compensating for an absence of congressional action on long-term funding. For in fact, individual states, far from sitting idly by, are responding to the fiscal uncertainties in Washington by stepping up and raising additional revenue to meet their transportation needs.

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States’ Fiscal Initiatives Offer a Solution to the Impending Trust Fund Shortfall

Friday, June 6th, 2014

Innovation Newsbriefs
Vol. 25, No. 8

While transportation stakeholders and the Washington press corps are agonizing about the impending Highway Trust Fund shortfall and its impact on the federal transportation program, they are ignoring developments outside the Beltway that go a long way toward mitigating the prospective funding shortage. For in fact, individual states, far from standing idly by, are responding to the fiscal uncertainties in Washington by stepping up and augmenting their transportation budgets.

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Hopes for a Long-Term Transportation Bill Are Fading

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Innovation Newsbriefs
Vol. 25, No. 7
With federal transportation spending outpacing tax receipts by some $1.25 billion/month, the cash balance of the Federal Highway Trust is drawing perilously close to the point where the U.S Department of Transportation will be obliged to institute cash management strategies—such as slowing down or delaying state reimbursements — to keep the Trust Fund account solvent. Based on current spending and revenue trends, this point —a cash balance of $4 billion in the Highway Account —will be reached in late July according to the latest U.S. DOT estimate However, CBO estimates that “both the highway account and the transit account will end the end of the fiscal year with a positive balance” according to an April 14 memo from the Congressional Budget Office (Subject: CBO’s Highway Trust Fund Runs, April Baseline)

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US DOT Unveils Details of Proposed Administration Transportation Bill

Friday, May 9th, 2014

Innovation Newsbriefs
Vol. 25, No. 6
For all its stirring of discussion on a myriad of important policy issues, this proposed legislation demonstrates at a core level that the revenue necessary for any such bill is nearly impossible to add up in a way that is both fiscally plausible and politically palatable in the current moment. The “details” the Administration is providing come with an important asterisk (*), denoting the blank slate it ascribes to something called “corporate tax reform,” the very pillar on which the rest of the proposed bill is supposed to stand. As such, the funding plan is not considered to be a serious proposal, but rather a place-holder designed to prompt a “dialogue” with Congress on funding, while encouraging others to come up with something that is more politically realistic in this election year.

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As the Highway Trust Fund Runs Low on Cash, States Come to the Rescue with Creative Funding Initiatives

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Innovation Newsbriefs
Vol. 25, No. 5
With federal transportation spending outpacing tax receipts by some $1.25 billion/month, the cash balance of the Federal Highway Trust is drawing perilously close to the point where the U.S Department of Transportation will be obliged to institute cash management strategies—such as reimbursing states weekly rather than on a daily basis— to keep the Trust Fund account solvent. Based on current spending and revenue trends, this point —a cash balance of $4 billion—may be reached as early as late July according to some estimates.

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As Congress Struggles for Ways to Fund the Next Transportation Reauthorization, States Are Taking Matters Into Their Own Hands

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Innovation Newsbriefs
Vol. 25, No. 4 rev
For the transportation community, anxious about the uncertain future of the surface transportation program, recent events offered little reassurance. The President’s proposal for a four-year $302 billion transportation reauthorization, part of the administration’s FY 2015 Budget, met with a skeptical reception on Capitol Hill. “This budget isn’t a serious document; it’s a campaign brochure,” House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) said dismissively. “Perhaps the most irresponsible budget yet,” commented House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). The lawmakers’ negative reaction was no doubt amplified by the fact that the President’s budget ignored the spending levels painfully negotiated by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep.Ryan just last December. The Administration’s proposal exceeds the bipartisan budget agreement by $56 billion.

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Rethinking the Way Transportation Infrastructure Is Funded

Friday, February 14th, 2014

Innovation Newsbriefs
Vol. 25, No. 3A
It may come as a surprise to you, but there is a quiet revolution in transportation funding underway these days. Faced with a depleted Highway Trust Fund and uncertain prospects for more money from a deficit-conscious Congress, many states are taking matters into their own hands and aggressively pursuing more fiscal independence.

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California’s Bullet Train Hobbled by Fresh Legal, Fiscal and Political Uncertainties

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Innovation Newsbriefs
Vol. 25, No. 2
Barely recovered from the damaging effects of the Sacramento Court ruling denying the California High Speed Rail Authority access to Prop 1A bond funding, the bullet train project has had to face fresh challenges.

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States’ Growing Role in Funding the Nation’s Transportation Infrastructure

Friday, January 17th, 2014

Innovation Newsbriefs
Vol. 25, No. 1
As we enter the new year (celebrating our 25th year of publication), and as the deadline for reauthorization of the surface transportation program draws closer, those who want the new bill to sharply increase federal spending for transportation face a vexing reality. The Highway Trust Fund, a vital source of support for the federal surface transportation program for over half a century, no longer can keep up with the nation’s growing transportation needs. A combination of more fuel-efficient cars, rising CAFE standards and consumer embrace of hybrid vehicles has kept gas tax revenue stagnant, throwing the Trust Fund out of balance with the rising demand for transportation funds. A possible decline in per capita travel could cause the future imbalance to grow even larger.

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More Setbacks for California’s Embattled High Speed Rail Project

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Innovation Newsbriefs
Vol. 24, No. 17
The Sacramento Court’s November 25 decision denying the California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) access to Proposition 1A bond funds (see our column of November 26) was the first in a series of setbacks suffered by the high speed rail project in recent days. The project was dealt another serious blow on November 26, when two influential members of Congress, Jeff Denham (R-CA), Chairman of the Railroads Subcommittee of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and Tom Latham (R-IA), Chairman of the House Transportation Appropriation Subcommittee requested the General Accountability Office (GAO) to review the federal grant agreements with the Authority in light of the Court’s rulings.

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