HOV Lanes Bill for Idaho's Metropolitan Areas Dies in Committee

Friday, February 25, 2011

Rep. Phyllis King presented a bill that would allow most Idaho communities to introduce High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes to the House Transportation and Defense Committee earlier last week. The intent of this bill was to allow the metropolitan areas of the state to create and access the HOV lane and to allow ITD maintenance vehicles performing maintenance to access these lanes. Under current law, HOV lanes are restricted to counties with a populations of less than 25,000. CTAI Executive Director, Heather Wheeler, testified in support of the bill as this is one tool which can improve mobility in Idaho. Details of the bill can be found at this link. http://bit.ly/hTs2rd

Although the House Transportation and Defense Committee voted 10-5 to hold the bill in Committee, Ms. Wheeler will continue to work with committee members to obtain an understanding of their concerns regarding HOV lanes and to educate them on the positive impact HOV lanes have on the overall transportation system.

Federal Transportation Spending Plan

Thursday, February 17, 2011

On Monday, President Barack Obama proposed an ambitious long-term transportation spending plan in his 2012 budget as a way to boost U.S. economic competitiveness and spur job growth. The Obama Administration’s plan is a bold, $556 billion, six-year reauthorization of America’s transportation programs. It proposes four broad goals: (I) strengthen our infrastructure (II) spurring innovation, (III) ensuring safety, and (IV) reforming government and exercising responsibility. The spending plan includes a significant investment in programs which can assist improving public transportation and mobility in Idaho. For example:

  • 127 percent increase – to $119 billion over six years – in funding for transit;
  • $32 billion for a “race-to-the-top” style incentive program, called the Transportation Leadership Awards, to encourage fundamental reforms in the planning, building and management of transportation system;
  • Innovative policy solutions will ensure that people in small towns and rural communities can more easily connect with regional and local transit options – and from one mode of transportation to another;
  • Promote regional planning; and,
  • Merge five transit programs into one state of good repair program and one specialized transportation program.

To move this plan through Congress, there will need to be a lot of dialogue. Please take a moment to contact your respective Congressman to inform them of how this plan will benefit Idahoans. Click here for contact information for the Idaho Congressional Delegation or to see the Dept of Transportation's Summary of the FY 2012 Budget.

New Rules Have Potentially Negative Impact on All Forms of Transportation

Thursday, January 06, 2011

House members voted 240 to 191 Wednesday to adopt Republican-approved rules for the 112th Congress that may negatively impact transportation spending in the future. The new Rule eliminated a provision that required appropriation funding for highways and transit to be identical to the levels set in authorizing law. This creates opportunities for members to offer amendments that will direct highway and transit funds to other purposes, such as deficit reduction.

CTAI is disappointed that House Republicans voted to rescind a guarantee that Highway Trust Fund revenues would be spent to fund the critical highway and transit programs that thousands of Idahoans rely on every day. CTAI will work to educate the Idaho Congressional Delegation on the impacts such amendments could have on the Idaho transportation system and Idaho citizens.


Drop Proposed Changes to the House Rules Regarding the Highway Trust Fund

Monday, December 27, 2010
Under current House rule, members may not offer a bill, joint resolution, amendment or conference report that reduces spending levels for highway, highway safety, and public transportation below the funding amounts that are specified in the authorization law (in this case, extensions of SAFETEA-LU). This rule holds regardless of the source of the revenues that support those spending levels.

In the House Rule package for the 112th Congress, Republicans propose to change this current rule. The change would eliminate the provisions which require appropriation funding for highways and transit to be identical to levels set in the authorizing law. This would create opportunities for user fees and transit general fund resources to be used for non-transportation purposes. For example, the new rule would allow members to offer amendments to direct highway and transit resources to other purposes, such as deficit reduction.

As you may recall from the Governor’s Task Force on Modernizing Transportation Funding December 2010 report, Idaho’s transportation system has a significant funding shortfall of more than $400 million. This proposed House Rule could lower the federal funding Idaho receives for transportation making the funding shortfall for highways and public transportation even larger.

CTAI is working alongside transportation providers, community leaders, and local citizens to improve mobility options in Idaho. We ask for everyone's support to drop the proposed changes to the House Rules regarding the Highway Trust Fund from the final package would significantly benefit Idaho’s transportation system and the Idaho citizens.

"Public Transportation is a Necessary Component to Transportation Efficiency"

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The Governor’s Task Force on Modernizing Public Transportation concluded its recommendations to Governor Butch Otter on Wednesday, November 23. Among the Task Force conclusions was that, “Public transportation is a necessary component to transportation efficiency.” Although no new funding will be generated from the implementation of user fees until Idaho’s economy improves, it is a great success that Public Transportation has been highlighted as a need. CTAI will continue to communicate with local elected officials and state legislators to keep Public Transportation in the spotlight.

For the full article click here.