NCSL President-elect Senator Bruce Starr (R-Ore.) told a House subcommittee on Thursday how the implementation of Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) is faring at the state level. MAP-21 was enacted in 2012 and governs the funding and authorization of federal surface and transportation spending.
Testifying before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, Starr discussed how states are being affected by a number of changes within MAP-21, including the development of national performance measures, program consolidation and the expansion of the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA).
He stressed the need for the federal government to establish a cooperative process through which the performance measures can be crafted. Starr urged the U.S. Department of Transportation to recognize and build off the extensive work states have already completed.
Reporting on states’ satisfaction with program consolidation, Starr explained how it’s allowing states to make it easier for users to acquire funding without having to submit multiple grant applications to multiple programs. Regarding TIFIA, Starr highlighted how his home state of Oregon is working with the state of Washington to develop a proposal that would increase overall funding for the construction of the I-5 Columbia River Crossing.
During a question-and-answer session with subcommittee members following his testimony, Starr highlighted how states are engaged in numerous efforts to increase funding for transportation programs, ranging from increasing gasoline taxes to indexing current tax rates to implementing new sales taxes. He also urged the committee to look at other forms of funding, including the pilot projects Oregon has taken part in that charge users different amounts based on the number of miles they travel.
The future of transportation will be a major area of focus for the Energy, Transportation and Agriculture Committee next week at the NCSL Spring Forum in Denver, Colorado.
Ben Husch is the committee director of the NCSL Energy, Transportation and Agriculture Committee.