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Posts Tagged ‘Innovation Newsbriefs’

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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Financing Transportation Infrastructure the Traditional Way

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Innovation Newsbriefs
Vol. 24, No. 15
…a transition from federal funding to public and private financing of new transportation infrastructure is already well underway —and it is likely to continue and grow given persistent deficits and pressures to reduce federal discretionary spending. Automatic sequester cuts which are to rise from $84 billion in 2013 to $109 billion in 2014, could place ever tighter constraints on government’s ability to increase spending for infrastructure in the years ahead.

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How to Avert a Transportation Funding Crisis

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Innovation Newsbriefs
Vol. 24, No. 13 (update)
In the longer run, greater state fiscal autonomy and financial sophistication could modify the federal-state relationship in transportation. There would be less need for direct financial aid to state DOTs and more emphasis on credit assistance to support transportation investments of truly national scope and significance. (High-Speed Rail in the Northeast Corridor comes to mind). At the same time, federal oversight of state transportation programs could be reduced to reflect the smaller federal fiscal footprint.

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Tolling the Interstate Highways

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Innovation Newsbriefs
Vol. 24, No. 14
Robert Poole, co-founder of the libertarian Reason Foundation and its Director of Transportation Policy has produced a study that is bound to create more than a ripple inside the transportation community…The study makes only one major policy recommendation: that Congress allow tolling of Interstate highways “for the specific purpose of reconstruction and widening with toll revenue used only for those purposes.” The author concludes that permission from Congress is “the one needed enabler… to begin this transition.”

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A Major Court Rebuke for the California Bullet Train

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Innovation Newsbriefs
Vol. 24, No. 12
The California High Speed Rail project was dealt a serious blow when Judge Michael P. Kenny of the Sacramento Superior Court ruled on August 16 that the California High-Speed Rail Authority “abused its discretion by approving a funding plan that did not comply with the requirements of the law.”

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Are We Ignoring the Obvious Solution to the Transportation Funding Crisis? (Cont’d)

Friday, August 16th, 2013

Innovation Newsbriefs
Vol. 24, No. 11
The inability of Congress to pass even a simple annual appropriations bill does not bode well for a congressional agreement on the much more complex and costly multi-year surface transportation bill that must be reauthorized by October 2014.

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