November 2017 News & JFI Update  11/30/2017
Just Fix It Update
Local Governments are Stepping Up to Address Crumbling Roads
Increased local road funding was one of the bright spots in the recently enacted transportation budget, but with a backlog of crumbling roads from years of declining or stagnant state aid, more and more local governments are taking action to help address poor road conditions in their communities. 

Below is a recap of what some communities have done or are considering since enactment of the 2017-19 state budget:
  • The City of Baraboo will hold a referendum in April asking voters’ permission to enact a $20 vehicle registration fee to help pay for street work. Last year, Baraboo spent $500,000 to repave the outer lanes of Highway 33 within the city limits because state help is seen as so far off. Read more
  • The Dane County Board of Supervisors by a wide measure approved a $28-wheel tax to support road improvements. "For the six-year period, from 2011 to 2017, our spending went up 250 percent on roads and the state support went up (only) 33 percent," county board Chairwoman Sharon Corrigan. Read more
  • The Town of Fox Lake approved a 36 percent levy hike to fix roads. Town supervisor Ed Benter said the increase is needed to cover the cost of road repairs, which have been overlooked or postponed in recent years due to increasing costs and decreased state aid. “We have about 36 miles of road in the township and without an increase we can fix about a half-mile of road per year,” Benter said. “With $150,000, we can at least get a couple miles done. Instead of upgrading and/or maintaining roads once every 72 years, we can do it every 36 years, which is about half the time we have now — and even that’s not fast enough.” Read more
  • The mayor of Port Washington, Tom Mlada, is pushing for an annual $20 wheel tax that would take effect in spring 2018. Currently, 16 of 60 miles of the city's streets are rated between 1 and 4 on the 10-point Pavement Surface Evaluation Rating system. Fixing those 16 miles of roadway would cost about $20 million. Read more

Options for local governments to raise additional revenue for transportation are limited with many turning to the wheel tax in recent years. According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation , 19 municipalities and 6 counties currently collect a wheel tax.
Grant County Herald Independent
November 23, 2017

Other Recent Media Coverage   (since last update)
Click here  for a complete listing.

Eau Claire Leader-Telegram
November 18, 2017

Urban Milwaukee
November 6, 2017
Iowa, Nebraska Road Projects See Boost from Gas Tax Increase
November 28, 2017, BY WQAD DIGITAL TEAM

Two years after Iowa and Nebraska raised their gas taxes, both states are seeing a flurry of new roadway projects at a time when national infrastructure efforts have stalled.

The extra revenue has allowed state and local officials to move forward quickly on overdue bridge repairs and plans for major highway projects.

“It has had a tremendous impact on the investment in Iowa’s public roads,” said Stuart Anderson, director of planning, programming and modal division for the Iowa Department of Transportation.

Anderson said he has seen “definitely much more movement” to address road needs at the state level than from the federal government. Congress approved a five-year surface transportation law in 2015, but the massive infrastructure investment President Donald Trump promised hasn’t materialized. Last week, the president promised to unveil the package as soon as Congress passes its tax code overhaul. Read more
News Around the Nation
Voters Overwhelmingly Support Transportation Investment

Voters in 20 states approved more than 80 percent of 215 transportation investment ballot measures Nov. 7, mostly at the local level, according to analysis conducted by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s Transportation Investment Advocacy Center™ (ARTBA-TIAC).

Preliminary results show voters approved 176 of the 215 measures, or 82 percent. The approved measures will support $2.9 billion in new transportation investment revenue and $1.3 billion in continued funding through tax extensions or renewals.

Including the most recent results, voters have approved 74 percent of over 1,200 transportation investment ballot measures tracked by ARTBA-TIAC since 2007.

The complete report and an interactive map showing the state-by-state results can be found at .

Congress’s 12 Days of Christmas

Congress has been consumed by tax reform legislation in a last ditch attempt to pass a major bill this year. Despite calls from the transportation industry, it appears lawmakers will bypass the opportunity to shore up the Highway Trust Fund as part of the effort.

This is only one item on the jam-packed December schedule at the U.S. Capitol. There is also the impending December 8 deadline to fund the federal government and possibly deal with the debt ceiling among other items.

Given the short timeline to enact legislation, another continuing resolution to keep the federal government open will not be unexpected. But there are rumblings about a possible shutdown. Read more
Trucking Industry says Gas Tax Increase is the Only Way to Pay for Infrastructure

A report from the  USA trucking industry’s not-for-profit research organization, American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), concludes that the only meaningful mechanism for attaining the Trump Administration’s vision for a large-scale infrastructure program is through a federal fuel tax increase.

The ATRI research documents that a federal fuel tax increase will incentivize states to generate multi-million dollar matches to the new federal funds, ultimately moving the USA closer to infrastructure investment goals.

The report also documents the cost of doing nothing. The federal gas tax has not been raised in more than 20 years, resulting in significant costs to system users. The trucking industry contributes more than $18 billion in federal user fees each year, but growing traffic congestion and freight bottlenecks now cost the industry more than $63 billion annually.
Association News

 TDA Wishes You a Safe and Happy Holiday Season!
Fly-in 2018 Update

TDA is excited to be planning its 2018 Fly-in to Washington, DC with the Minnesota Transportation Alliance. The event will likely be toward the end of May. However, the dates will not be selected until the U.S. House and Senate schedules are released in the next month or so.

Keep a lookout! We will share the dates as soon as possible.