July Newsletter
Senate Advances Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal
President Biden and a bipartisan group of senators agreed on a revised roughly $1 trillion infrastructure package. And on Wednesday, the Senate voted 67-32 to begin consideration of the measure formally.

The proposed above-baseline transportation spending (in billions) under the new bipartisan infrastructure deal is about the same except for public transit and infrastructure financing.
Source: White House fact sheets.
The bipartisan infrastructure deal will include a reauthorization of the surface transportation programs. When complete, the bill text is expected to reflect the bipartisan reauthorization bills produced by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (S. 1931, highways) and the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee (S. 2016, safety, multimodal, hazardous materials, and rail). The current reauthorization extension expires on September 30.

According to the White House fact sheet, the deal is paid for by redirecting unspent emergency relief funds, targeted corporate user fees, strengthening cryptocurrency tax enforcement, other bipartisan measures, and the revenue generated from higher economic growth as a result of the investments.

Wednesday’s Senate vote was the first step in the process, with a vote on a final bill hopefully before the Senate adjourns for its August recess. Senate Majority Leader Schumer (D-NY) plans to move concurrently the budget resolution that sets up the reconciliation process for a multi-trillion-dollar package to fund childcare, paid leave, education, climate change measures, and other Democratic priorities.

TDA, its members, and partners continue to urge the Senate to pass a multi-year transportation investment package before the August recess.

Once the Senate passes the bill, it will head to the House to be approved or modified and sent back to the Senate.
Wisconsin Transportation News
WisDOT Seeks Public Input on I-41 Project
This week, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation provided three opportunities to participate in an I-41 project hearing and give testimony.

I-41 is a major highway connecting three of Wisconsin's four largest regional economies – Milwaukee, Fox Cities, and Green Bay. The 23-mile I-41 section under study, WIS 96 (Wisconsin Avenue) in Appleton to County F (Scheuring Road) in De Pere, has a crash rate greater than similar freeways in Wisconsin, is congested, and has multiple roadway design deficiencies. Also, much of the pavement and several bridges are reaching the end of their useful lives and need replacing. As part of the Environmental Assessment, WisDOT evaluated several alternatives to address these issues.

The preferred alternative for the mainline of I-41 is reconstruction and modernization, adding a lane in each direction for a total of six. Modernization with added capacity will improve safety and traffic operations. In addition, the proposed project will make this section of interstate consistent with the six-lane I-41 segments to the north and the south.

The public comment period ends August 6, 2021, with final environmental approval anticipated in November of this year. Construction could begin around 2025.

Project exhibits and a recording of the virtual hearing are on the WisDOT website. You may submit written comments to be placed in the project’s record through August 6 by emailing the I-41 project manager, Scott Ebel, at Scott.Ebel@dot.wi.gov.
For more news around the state, take a look at TDA's About TIME publication.

Komatsu Mining is constructing a $285 million complex in Milwaukee’s Harbor District. Essential to the project is a railroad spur to bring raw materials to the plant and send out finished goods.
Status of the States
Colorado and Missouri Raise Gas Tax for the First Time Since the 1990s
In a budget cycle coming out of the pandemic, state legislatures introduced fewer bills to increase transportation funding. Most of the enacted increases were one-time funding – either general purpose revenue or bonding. However, two states – Colorado and Missouri – passed gas tax increases.

Both states had been working to increase transportation revenue for many cycles before the pandemic. And neither state had increased its gas tax since the 1990s. With these two increases, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy's tally (previously as of March 2021) becomes 38 states that have raised or reformed their gas taxes since 2010.
The Colorado bill gradually increases the state motor fuel taxes by eight cents per gallon (from 22 cents to 30 cents). In a nod to the changing economy, the bill also institutes a 27-cent fee on online delivery purchases, creates new fees for electric motor vehicles and car-sharing rentals, and adds a 30-cent fee on most rideshare trips. These fees are indexed to changes in inflation as measured by the National Highway Construction Cost Index.

Missouri’s state gas tax will increase 12.5 cents per gallon over five years (from 17 cents to 29.5 cents) due to recently signed legislation. In a unique twist, the law gives drivers the option to get a 100% rebate of the new tax if they keep a record of their sales receipts. The state expects few people to claim the refund. The measure also increases electric vehicle fees.
Other Transportation News
Southeast Wisconsin Transportation Symposium
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Institute for Physical Infrastructure and Transportation and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation present:

2021 Southeast Wisconsin Transportation Symposium
Friday, October 8
8:00 am to 3:00 pm
UWM Student Union

This symposium brings academics, students, and practitioners together to network and share information on topics of interest to transportation professionals in southeastern Wisconsin and beyond. Presenters will showcase practical applications of transportation-related academic research and share innovative practices.

Click here for event details and to register.
Transportation Information Center Workshop
Using PASER and WISLR to Manage Your Roads is scheduled to be four online sessions: August 17, August 19, August 24, and August 26 from 9:00 am to 11:00 am.

You can find more details and enroll on the University of Wisconsin-Madison Transportation Information Center website.
TDA Outreach
TDA Podcast: Tourists Make Up For Lost Time
In the latest episode of the TDA On The Go Podcast, Executive Director Debby Jackson speaks with Romy Snyder, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Dells Visitor and Convention Bureau, about the trends Snyder sees in the Dells and her optimism for the future of the industry.

“The pent-up demand for travel has just been off the charts,” said Snyder, referring to leisure travel and tourism. “We continually hear stories of people with family members who have not seen each other for a year who are reuniting, celebrating - celebrating everything they couldn't celebrate all of last year, basically.”

Snyder pointed out that convention and sports travel are rebounding more slowly than leisure travel as those events require longer planning times, but she sees movement in those areas as well.

Listen to the podcast here.
Association News
Thanks to Our Organizational Sponsors
TDA Events
2021 Annual Meeting - Tuesday, November 16
Other Upcoming Events
Freight Rail Day - Wednesday, October 13 at the Madison Club