Plus: Tr i logy of Federal ism Cases before U. S . Supreme Cour t
Pay to Pave: 15 States to Watch in Financing Options
Panama Canal and U.S. Ports
Safety Scorecard: Laws Aim to Make Roads Safer
What’s on Your State’s Plate?
”I think there are
some exciting times ahead, but we really have to work hard now
to change how we look at transportation and transportation solutions.”
—Illinois Transportation secretary Ann schneider
T h e C o U n C I l o F S T A T e G o v e R n M e n T S | I n S I G h T S & I n n o v A T I o n S
CAPITol IdeAS HOT TOPIC: Transportation
… get the BIG PICTuRE on energy & environment in the Capitol Ideas May/June issue.
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CAPITOL IDEAS | contentsCAPITOL IDEAS | contents
On the COver Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider, shown in Illinois Department of Transportation offices in Springfield, said federal inaction has led to many frustrations at the state level. While Congress has passed reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration bill, it still must pass a surface transportation bill that will allow states to better plan projects, she said.
Photo by Rodney Margison
13 hOt tOPIC— FInAnCIng ALternAtIves Georgia is asking voters to decide whether to raise the state sales tax by a penny to fund transportation projects tied to a specific region. Fifteen other states are looking at financing alternatives for transportation projects.
27 hOt tOPIC— rOAd sAFety States have adopted laws banning texting and/or the use of hand-held cell phones, but there’s no clear indication those bans are making roads safer.
20 10 questIOns— rAy LAhOOd U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood lays out his priorities in a reauthorization of the surface transportation bill. “To compete for the jobs and industries of the future, America must out-innovate and out- build the rest of the world,” he said.
32 hOt tOPIC— FreIght trAnsPOrtAtIOn States must fund often-neglected modes of transportation to ensure the transport of freight remains safe and competitive in a global economy.
© Corbis/ Paul Schulenburg
contents | CAPITOL IDEAS
© AP Photo/Richard Drew © Corbis/Susan Walsh
hot topic | 13 FInAnCIng ALTERnATIvES Georgia is asking voters to decide whether to raise the state
sales tax by a penny to fund transportation projects tied to a specific region. Fifteen other states are looking at financing alternatives for transportation projects.
18 AvIATIOn FInAnCIng Congress recently passed a reauthorization of the Federal
Aviation Administration funding bill, but the delays in approval created some uncertainty in the states.
27 ROAD SAFETy States have adopted laws banning texting and/or the use of
hand-held cell phones, but there’s no clear indication those bans are making roads safer.
30 STATE LICEnSE PLATES Some are bold and beautiful, while others offer ways to raise
money for a cause, but all state license plates share a couple of common goals—they identify a vehicle’s ownership and say a little about that state.
32 FREIghT TRAnSPORTATIOn States must fund often-neglected modes of transportation
to ensure the transport of freight remains safe and competitive in a global economy.
34 PORTS In TRAnSITIOn The expansion of the Panama Canal could change the face
of ports in the U.S. States are making investments to ensure their ports remain competitive—from the ports on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts to the ports on the West Coast.
36 MASS TRAnSIT Ten things state policymakers should know about the buses
and light rail that take commuters from place to place.
features | 42 ECOnOMy vS. ECOSySTEM Policymakers are striving to find a balance between
protecting the delicate ecosystem of the Great Lakes and preserving much-needed jobs. Not all states agree on how to do that.
44 FEDERALISM CASES Three prominent cases making their way through the U.S.
Supreme Court address the issue of federalism. Lisa Soronen, executive director of the State and Local Legal Center, offers insight into what these cases mean for the states.
they said it | 5 TRAnSPORTATIOn ChALLEngES regional roundup | 6 EAST 7 SOUTh 8 MIDWEST 9 WEST by the book | 10 STATE TOLLS Tolling has been one feature of a state’s
portfolio in raising money for transportation. Florida has the most toll road miles, while New York has the most toll bridges.
in the know | 12 kEy ISSUES In TRAnSPORTATIOn Sean Slone, senior transportation policy
analyst at The Council of State Governments, offers three things you should know about what’s going on in transportation.
10 questions | 20 CREATE jObS ThROUgh InFRASTRUCTURE
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood lays out his priorities in a reauthorization of the surface transportation bill. “To compete for the jobs and industries of the future, America must out-innovate and out-build the rest of the world,” he said.
straight talk | 38 TRAnSPORTATIOn ChALLEngES Transportation officials discuss the challenges,
and possible solutions, facing states today with regard to infrastructure.
stated briefly | 40 AFFILIATE & ASSOCIATIOn nEWS News from The Council of
State Governments and its affiliates
how to | 46 CREATE A 21ST CEnTURy DMv on the road | 47 UPCOMIng MEETIngS shout out | 48 WyOMIng SEnATOR
MIChAEL vOn FLATERn A pilot and owner of a private charter air
service, Wyoming Sen. Michael Von Flatern has a bird’s eye view of the needs his state faces with regard to transportation.
13 20 44
PR 2012 CSg'S EXECUTIvE DIRECTOR | notes
As I write this, the United States Congress is debating long-overdue legislation on surface transportation. The House is advancing its American Energy and Infrastruc- ture Jobs Act, which would reauthorize transportation programs for five years, while the Senate is considering a two-year reauthorization bill. Additionally, a four-year FAA reauthorization bill gathered bipartisan support in both chambers and gained approval. The stakes are high for the states and localities and the needs are great.
While “infrastructure” may be one of those words that cause eyes to immediately glaze over, for our states, it is the lifeblood of daily economic activity. It is difficult to predict with any certainty whether the House, Senate and White House will be able to reach agreement on transportation legislation, but it is clear that a coherent transportation policy, one that allows states to appropriately plan for the future, is needed.
There are many good reasons we selected transportation as our hot topic in this issue. Transportation contributes 11 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, or approximately $950 billion. The average household in America spends almost 19 percent of its budget on transportation, more than food and health care combined, and second only to housing.
The U.S. transportation system carries more than 4.7 trillion passenger miles and 3.7 trillion ton miles of domestic freight. Rail and maritime transportation each account for more than 11 percent of the tonnage carried.
The system comprises 3.9 million miles of public roads. There are more than 120,000 miles of major railroads, more than 25,000 miles of commercially navigable waterways and more than 5,000 public use airports. The nation’s transportation system also includes more than 500 major urban public transit operations and more than 300 ports on the coasts, Great Lakes and inland waterways.
When President Eisenhower initiated the Interstate Highway System, he saw it as vital to America’s defense. Today, while the system accounts for only 1 percent of all highway mileage, it carries 25 percent of the total vehicle miles of travel. It represents a partnership between the federal government and the states that has worked to grow the economy from coast to coast.
While some of the recent federal stimulus went into improvements in infrastructure, the backlog of needed improvements is daunt- ing. More than 26 percent of the nation’s bridges are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Congestion on the nation’s roads is increasing and the cost is great. Americans spend 4.2 billion hours a year stuck in traffic at a cost to the economy of $78.2 billion, or $710 per motorist. One-third of America’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition and 45 percent of major urban highways are congested.
The American Society of Civil Engineers, in its most recent report card on America’s infrastructure, estimated an investment of $2.2 trillion over the next five years would be needed to address our nation’s transportation and infrastructure needs.
Recently President Obama quoted President Reagan, who said, “The bridges and highways we fail to repair today will have to be rebuilt tomorrow at many times the cost.”
Many states are addressing transportation challenges through innovation. Some are restructuring the way they levy gas taxes, while some are pursuing alternative means of financing improvements. Public-Private Partnerships, or P3s to use the new lingo, are being embraced by many states to expedite construction and shift the costs of highway and bridge projects. We discuss those solutions more fully in this issue.
Finally, as the son of a state highway patrol officer, I can’t conclude without mentioning highway safety. Many states have moved to improve safety by addressing the issue of distracted driving and a federal agency has urged states to ban texting in vehicles. This issue provides an update on states’ actions in this arena. As for me, my resolution for the new year was to no longer text while driving. The best enforcer I have is my 10-year-old daughter watching from the back seat. She has a zero tolerance policy.
Let us know what you think about the contents of this issue … just don’t text me while driving.
Very truly yours,
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president gOv. LUIS FORTUñO, Puerto Rico | chair SEnATE MAjORITy LEADER jAy SCOTT EMLER, kansas vice chair SEnATE PRESIDEnT gARy STEvEnS, Alaska | immediate past chair DEPUTy SPEAkER bOb gODFREy, Connecticut
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CAPITOL IDEAS, ISSN 2152-8489, MAR/APR 2012, Vol. 55, No. 2—Published bi-monthly by The Council of State Governments, 2760 Research Park Dr., Lexington, KY 40511-8482. Opinions expressed in this magazine do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Council of State Governments nor the views of the editorial staff. Readers’ comments are welcome. Subscription rates: in the U.S., $42 per year. Single issues are available at $7 per copy. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Capitol Ideas, Sales Department, P.O. Box 11910, Lexington, KY 40578-1910. Periodicals postage paid at Lexington, Ky., and additional mailing offices.
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“Our transportation system is the lifeblood of our economy.”
“In order for us to build these (transportation)
projects in our lifetime, we’ve got to do it in an untraditional way.”
“... Bridges are not like trees; they do not grow stronger with age.”
“I don’t think there is widespread public understanding that we have a road crisis.”
”I think the high-speed rail project is a game changer for California's economy down the road.”
—Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire, in her State of the State address, explaining that the system
moves people to work and goods to market, and supports the tourism industry
—Georgia State Transportation Board Member
Sam Wellborn, as quoted in the Ledger-Enquirer
in Columbus, Ga., talking about the 12 regional
sales tax referendums taking place July 31 to fund
—Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, in his State of the State
address, discussing the need to invest in the Maryland’s
—Jim Earp, executive director of the California Alliance for Jobs, as
quoted in the Sacramento Bee in February discussing the bullet
train system to connect northern and southern California
—Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, in the Iowa Farmer Today,
discussing the need for legislators to educate constituents
about the need for a motor fuel tax increase
“I really believe it really should be sacrosanct. We call it a Transportation Trust Fund for a reason.”
—Maryland Sen. Robert Garagiola
about a possible constitutional
amendment to prevent the
transportation to cover shortfalls
in the general fund
In his Jan. 19 State of the State ad- dress, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, a 2003 Toll Fellow, announced plans to make all state government campuses smoke-free in an effort to slow the ever-growing cost of health care for state employees.
“It’s time to make all of our campuses, in their entirety, smoke- free. Otherwise, we are facilitating behavior that is not only harmful to those who engage in it, but that we know, with certainty, will heavily bur- den future generations of taxpayers,” Markell said during his address.
According to The News Journal of Wilmington, the state banned smok- ing inside workplaces with its Clean Indoor Air Act of 2002. Since its implementation, many of Delaware’s largest employers have moved to make their outdoor campuses smoke- free.
Some Delaware state facilities
already have smoke-free campuses. In 2007, the state Department of Health and Social Services made its mental health and nursing facility campuses smoke-free. The Delaware Technical Community College campus most recently went smoke-free on Jan. 1, The News Journal reported.
The state already has a tobacco- cessation program, DelaWELL, in place. According to the state’s Office of Management and Budget, 766 em- ployees, retirees and their dependents participated in the program during the 2011 fiscal year.
While the governor’s administra- tion is working to change the tobacco policy, it is unclear if the Legislative Hall and state courthouses will be in- cluded in the ban. Because those are controlled by the other two branches of government, Markell’s ban may not apply, according to the governor’s spokesman, Brian Selander.
Governor Proposes Ban on Smoking
hOMe sALes The number of single-family home sales in Massachusetts in December 2011 dropped 5 percent from the same month last year, The Boston Globe reported. Data provided by the Warren Group showed a 4.2 percent drop in the median sale price of single- family homes in December to $267,250, down from $279,000 in December 2010. The Decem- ber decline marked the end of a five-month streak of year- over-year gains in the volume of single-family home sales.
suPreMe COurt New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced two nomina- tions to the state’s Supreme Court in January. According to the Star Ledger of Newark, Christie nominated Phil Kwon and Bruce Harris to sit on the state’s highest court. Kwon, if confirmed, would be the first Asian-American to serve on the high court. Harris is the mayor of Chatham Borough. The two nominees would replace former Justice John Wallace and Justice Virginia Long, who faces mandatory retirement in March.
WhOOPIng COugh Vermont schools are on alert this year after a substantial increase in the number of re- ported whooping cough cases. The Vermont Health Depart- ment recorded 91 cases of whooping cough in December 2011, five times the total of all cases reported in the state in 2010, according to the Burling- ton Free Press. The state Health Department has advised school officials to keep an eye out for the highly contagious illness.
hIgher eduCAtIOn FundIng Rhode Island increased its higher education funding by al- most 14 percent for the 2011-12 fiscal year, the largest increase by any state this year. Rhode Island will spend $193.6 million, WPRI of Providence reported. The increase can be attributed to the $30.2 million in stabiliza- tion funds the state received. Rhode Island is one of only five states to have federal stimulus money for higher education in its 2011-12 budget.
OvertIMe COsts Overtime costs at state agencies in New York rose 4.5 percent in 2011, according to records from the state’s comptroller office. According to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, over- time costs increased from $449 million to $469 million between 2010 and 2011. A spokesman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office suggested much of the overtime was incurred when the state was hit by tropical storms Irene and Lee last year.
A R / A
PR 2012 AL • AR • FL • gA • ky • LA • MO • MS • nC • Ok • SC • Tn • TX • vA • Wv SOUTh | regional roundup
the south ObesIty tAsk FOrCe Troubled by high rates of child- hood obesity in South Carolina, physicians in the state are spear- heading a new effort to address the problem and find potential solutions. The South Carolina Medical Association’s Child- hood Obesity Task Force will provide a forum for physicians, researchers, school leaders and state health officials to develop a strategy to address childhood obesity. According to The State in Columbia, nearly 32 percent of South Carolina’s children are considered either obese or over- weight. The national average is 28 percent.
green jObs Green jobs are on the rise in Louisiana. The (Baton Rouge) Advocate reports that jobs related to the production of biofuels, wood pellets, coastal restoration, hydropower and wind turbines comprise 97,800 direct and support jobs that are part of the “green economy.” These jobs account for 5.3 per- cent of the state’s employment, according to a 2010 study led by LSU and the Louisiana Work- force Commission. The study estimates green jobs growth to reach 13.8 percent by 2020. dIsAbILItIes settLeMent Virginia and the U.S. Justice Department have agreed to a 10-year, $2.1 billion settlement to close all but one state institu- tion for the developmentally disabled and move thousands of patients into home settings. Virginia will spend $340.6 mil- lion to make the change and receive $935 million in federal assistance, The Washington Post reported.
eduCAtIOn FundIng Florida schools will receive a $1 billion increase in state funding for the 2012-13 fiscal year. Gov. Rick Scott, House Speaker Dean Cannon and state Sen. David Simmons, chair of the Senate K-12 Education Appropriations Committee, have agreed to the increase in the Florida Education Finance Program, according to The Florida Current. Reasons for the substantial increase include higher enrollment numbers, the end of federal stimulus dollars and low property tax revenues. PhysICAL eduCAtIOn West Virginia has begun a three- year program aimed at solving the commonwealth’s childhood obesity problem. ActiveWV 2015 is modeled after the 2008 National Physical Activity Plan and encourages residents to engage in physical activity on a regular basis, The Charleston Gazette reported. West Virginia ranks in the top five in terms of people struggling with obesity, diabetes, heart disease and strokes. The program was launched during Physical Activ- ity Day in January at the state capitol.
President Barack Obama announced a new oil and gas lease sale in the central Gulf of Mexico, scheduled for June 20 in New Orleans.
The lease sale…