CTAI Blog

House Appropriations Committee Releases FY12 Transportation Funding Bill

Thursday, September 08, 2011

The House Appropriations FY2012 Transportation Funding Bill was released today. The amount appropriated for state and local bus grants is an estimated 37% decrease from the current funding level ($5.2 billion FY2012 compared to $8.3 billion in FY2011).

As a state that relies heavily on federal transportation funding, the communities in Idaho will be deeply impacted by the proposed cut to our public transportation systems. This decrease will lead to severe reductions in transportation services for many individuals across the state and will equate to a loss of thousands of jobs. With high gas prices, a slow economy, and increased ridership, now is not the time to implement cuts to the public transportation systems in Idaho.

We have asked Congressmen Simpson and Labrador to continue to work for a transportation appropriation bill that will put Americans back to work, provide businesses with relief from the costs of congestion and the insecurity of unreliable, inadequate infrastructure. And,we have encouraged them to use their leadership to move forward a bill that increases public transportation investment or at the very least, maintains current funding levels.

It is critical for you to contact Congressman Simpson and Congressman Labrador to help them understand what a 37% decrease in funding would look like for citizens in Idaho. And, to encourage them to support a higher formula level with a new, multi-year authorization bill. You can find the contact information for the Idaho Congressional Delegation through the respective links below:

Congressman Simpson: http://simpson.house.gov/Contact/  

Congressman Labrador: http://labrador.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=3  


-Heather Wheeler, CTAI Executive Director

Transportation Funding Cuts Looming

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, under the leadership of Chairman John Mica (R-FL), released a six-year, multi-modal surface transportation authorization bill last week. CTAI commends the Chairman and the Committee for their efforts to expand project financing, streamline project delivery, and simplify federal grant programs. However, CTAI is deeply disappointed in the bill’s investment level, which is miserably short of what is required to address the transportation infrastructure investment needs across the nation. The proposal authorizes $35B per year which ismore than 30% less than the amount currently authorized under SAFETEA-LU.

As a state that relies heavily on federal funding, Idaho will be deeply impacted by the proposed cut of more than $8 million to our public transportation systems. This cut will lead to severe reductions in transportation services for many individuals across the state and will equate to a loss of more than 300 jobs. With high gas prices, a slow economy, and increased ridership, now is not the time to implement cuts to the national transportation system. According to numerous experts, including the American Society of Civil Engineers, the U.S. needs to invest an additional $1 trillion beyond current levels in the next ten years just to maintain a state of good repair and meet demand.

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson, in conjunction with three other Congressmen, wrote a letter to Chairman Mica and Ranking Member Nick Rahall urging them to “fund surface transportation at a robust level, higher than or at least equal to the current funding level”. These Congressmen understand the real financial impact that crumbling infrastructure, congestion, and limited mobilitywill have on American businesses and families.

CTAI encourages you to take a moment to commend Congressman Mike Simpson for supporting a transportation bill that will put Americans back to work, provide businesses with relief from the costs of congestion and the insecurity of unreliable, inadequate infrastructure. In addition, please urge the remaining Idaho Congressional Delegation to move forward with an authorization bill that increases transportation investment or at the very least, maintains current funding levels.

Commending Simpson's Stance on Mica's Authorization Bill 

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.