March 2018 News & JFI Update  3/26/2018
2018 Fly-in
May 22-24

TDA and the Minnesota Transportation Alliance have planned a joint Fly-in. It is really a merging of the best of the two state events. This is a great opportunity to try something new and meet transportation advocates from a neighboring state.

With the transportation debate heating up in DC, May will be the perfect time to go educate the Wisconsin delegation about the needs back home.
Don't wait to make your plans! Hotel space is limited.

Click  here  for the event brochure and  here  to register online.
Just Fix It Update
Wisconsin’s Roads Crumble while Difficult Decisions are Delayed

InBusiness Blog
By Craig Thompson, TDA Executive Director
March 6, 2018

That is the only word that seems to truly sum up Wisconsin when it comes to sustainable transportation funding. There are precious few legislators from either house who don’t express, in clear terms, that Wisconsin’s current transportation revenue is inadequate to meet current needs, but in the end, nothing changes. Well, some things change — the roads keep getting worse and the traveling public keeps getting angrier.

So, after this very topic held up passage of the overall state budget for months, it ends up back on the front page again. Why? In part because the Trump administration is proposing a federal infrastructure package that would rely predominantly on the states to step up and increase their financial commitment.

This is exactly what Wisconsin has been unable or unwilling to do. Despite report after report finding the condition of Wisconsin’s roads to be the worst in the Midwest and among the very worst in the entire country.

Incredibly, some state officials are now saying that the only way raise sufficient revenue in Wisconsin is to do toll roads. The ONLY way? Really? Read more
Other News
Congress Passes 2018 Omnibus Bill

Hours before the current continuing resolution would have expired, Congress approved, and the president signed a government-wide spending bill for the 2018 fiscal year which began Oct. 1. This measure includes additional funds for federal-aid highway, transit, rail and transportation grant programs.

According to the bill summary , the Bipartisan Budget Agreement of 2018 increases funding for key transportation programs administered by the Department of Transportation by $7.8 billion from fiscal year 2017. 

Below are highlights excerpted from the bill summary:
  • TIGER: The bill provides $1.5 billion for the TIGER grant program, $1 billion more than in fiscal year 2017 and $1.5 billion more than the fiscal year 2018 House bill.
  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA): The FAA will receive $18 billion in total budgetary resources, $1.6 billion more than in fiscal year 2017. The bill provides full funding for all air traffic control personnel, including controllers, engineers, maintenance technicians, safety inspectors, and operational support personnel.  In addition, the bill provides an additional $1 billion for Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grants, bringing the total funding for this program to $4.35 billion. Lawmakers also extended aviation programs another six months through Sept. 30
  • Federal Highway Administration (FHWA): FHWA will receive $47.498 billion, an increase of $3.49 billion from fiscal year 2017. The bill includes almost $3 billion in additional FHWA formula funding, which is $2.5 billion more than the increases included in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act of 2015. 
  • Federal Transit Administration (FTA): The FTA will receive $13.48 billion, an increase of $1.066 billion from fiscal year 2017.  The bill includes $9.73 billion for Transit formula grants, as authorized by the FAST Act, as well as additional amounts above the FAST Act levels for certain programs: $400 million for State-of-Good-Repair formula grants; $400 million for Bus and Bus Facilities grants; and $30 million for High Density State Apportionments.        
  • Capital Investment Grants: This bill provides $2.645 billion for Capital Investment Grants, $232 million more than in fiscal year 2017. Capital Investment Grants provide new and improved services on subway, light rail, and bus rapid transit systems through a rigorous discretionary review process. 
  • Federal Railroad Administration (FRA): The bill provides $3.09 billion for the FRA, fully funding safety inspectors and programs, including the Automatic Track Inspection Program, while also making important investments in Positive Train Control (PTC) implementation and capital improvements on America’s railroads.
  • Amtrak: The bill rejects the Administration’s proposal to eliminate long-distance routes and funds Amtrak at $1.942 billion, $447 million more than in fiscal year 2017. This includes $650 million for the Northeast Corridor and $1.292 billion for the National Network.

Outside the USDOT, the omnibus spending bill provides $789 million more to the Army Corps of Engineers for navigation and flood-control projects.

New TRIP Report Highlights High Rate of Fatal Crashes Involving Elderly

Associated Press
March 16, 2018

A study shows Wisconsin has the highest rate for fatal crashes involving elderly drivers in the country.

The study conducted by TRIP, a national transportation research group, found 26% of fatal crashes in Wisconsin in 2016 involved someone 65 or older. That’s despite the state having a lower percentage of older drivers compared to many states.

“A lot of Americans 65 and over are very active, they’re leading very mobile lives, and it’s critical they maintain that as long as they can safely do so. But what we recognize at the same is a significant increase in the number of traffic fatalities that are occurring,” said Frank Moretti, TRIP director of policy and research.

David Pabst, safety director for the state’s Department of Transportation, said it’s “an alarming statistic” and “a serious problem.” Read more

INFRA Grants to be Announced in June, Hopefully

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao told Congress March 6 that the Department of Transportation expects to award $1.56 billion in 2017 and 2018 INFRA grants "hopefully . . . by the beginning of June . . . the beginning of the summer."

WisDOT applied for an INFRA grant earlier this year "to support the construction of a vital portion of the I-94 North-South expansion project that encompasses Foxconn’s manufacturing development and some of Wisconsin’s other fast-growing employers."

If WisDOT doesn't receive the $246 million requested, it is unclear how the state will complete the project by 2021. 
2017 Traffic at Record Levels in US, Wisconsin

Traffic on U.S. roads and highways hit an all-time high in 2017 of more than 3.208 trillion vehicle miles traveled according to the Federal Highway Administration.

In its latest monthly Traffic Volume Trends report, which uses preliminary reports from state highway agencies, traffic volume increased 1.2 percent in 2017 or 39.3 billion vehicle miles.

Last year was the third straight year that traffic hit new record highs.

Using the same preliminary data reported to FHWA by the state, 2017 is also a record-breaking year for Wisconsin traffic. Vehicle miles traveled in 2017 topped 64.1 billion and miles traveled in 2016. 
Association News
Save these Dates
  • 2018 Fly-in: May 22-24
  • 2018 fall forums: September & October (to be announced)
  • 2018 Annual Meeting: Wednesday, November 14