Today's transportation bill matrix reflects the status of all the transportation infrastructure-related bills after the first significant committee hearing deadline. As reflected in the status column, many of these bills "died" from failing to meet this deadline for favorable committee consideration. For future reference, those bills that "died" will be removed from future matrices to provide better focus to those bills still under consideration.
The one big exception is for appropriations bills. While a bill requesting state funding can technically "die", ultimately, the outcome of whether the bill's subject will receive state funding will be determined by whether it's included in the state budget. So, appropriations bills that have "died" will continue to be included in the bill matrix as their subjects could still be successfully included in the state budget.
One such bill is HB2396. This is the RTAC-led effort to fund Greater Arizona priority projects as determined by the regional transportation planning agencies and their county, city, town and tribal representatives. As a result of this process to prioritize projects, 32 of the 36 projects selected were on local road networks. Due to legislative opposition against including local projects in the state budget this year, an alternative list of projects consisting solely of state highway priorities across Greater Arizona is under development for budget consideration. So, while HB2396 is "dead", the effort to further fund Greater Arizona transportation infrastructure needs will continue.
As reported last week, the revenue outlook for next year's state budget remains historically favorable. Through February, the current state fiscal year's growth rate is 18.7% higher than last year. The legislative budget staff's most current projections estimate a $3.2 billion balance available for next year's budget. Of that, they project that $2.1 billion will be available for one-time initiatives such as transportation projects. Although, transportation will be competing with many other demands such as water development, tax cuts and education; the prospects for much of this funding being directed to transportation infrastructure are very favorable
However, it's absolutely vital for transportation stakeholders to continue to express the demand and articulate the level of unmet transportation needs to urge legislators to maximize the level of state general fund revenue that is directed to transportation this year. Revenue opportunities such as this one are rare.