All eyes are on the federal government as the country waits for President Trump to unveil his long-awaited infrastructure plan. In the meantime, we have seen state after state step up and do their part to fill in the investment gap. Some states, such as Oregon and California, have recently implemented gas taxes to fund infrastructure improvement projects, while other states, like Florida, are increasing toll rates. With the New Year well underway and most state legislatures moving into session, we are seeing the trend of advocating for infrastructure investment continue.
Alabama continued momentum from their discussion in previous years, by starting the conversation for increasing the gas tax. It has not raised its gas tax in over 25 years and is struggling to keep up with maintenance needs.
Colorado’s legislature went into session last Wednesday and Senate President Kevin Grantham was quick to announce that the Republican party would introduce a bill to fund transportation through bonds. This money would go towards the predicted $9 billion backlog in transportation projects that is expected to pile up over the next 10 years. On Thursday, Governor Hickenlooper, who is in his last year of office, gave his State of the State address, remarking that it is up to voters to decide whether the state should raise new revenue for transportation. He called out the fact that Colorado has also not raised its gas tax in over 25 years. While the path to investment is not clear with Colorado, legislators do agree on one thing: it is time to fund infrastructure.
In Connecticut, Governor Malloy, who has been a champion for infrastructure and will continue that during his last year in office, called for the state to take action, stating that it is time for Connecticut to fund vital infrastructure projects that, without funding, will hurt the state’s economy. But for now, he has put a hold on $4.3 billion in infrastructure projects until the state reaches a funding solution.
In Missouri, the 21st Century Missouri Transportation Task Force is advocating for a 10-cent per gallon gas tax increase. Brian Pallasch, ASCE’s Managing Director of Government Relations and Infrastructure Initiatives, presented the Infrastructure Report Card to lawmakers at this task force in December 2017. He emphasized the need for investment and the impacts of underinvestment. Currently, Missouri has the fifth-lowest overall gas tax in the nation at 17.3 cents per gallon.
Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, and Missouri are just a few of the states that are getting creative with infrastructure funding and more are sure to join them as state legislative sessions continue. Click here to track legislation in your state and click here to view your state’s Infrastructure Report Card.