Today I was a part of a meeting with 65 other people (including representatives from the Michigan Chamber, the AFL-CIO, the County Road Association, and others) to hear about some specifics on a proposal to increase transportation funding. Going into the meeting, I had the feeling that this was going to be the same ole same ole with nothing new to report. I’m glad to say that I was wrong.
The Governor’s staff give us a nine page document incorporating 13 specific bills that have been requested and received that will increase transportation funding by 90% over the next five year (from $3.1 billion to approximately $5.89 billion from state/local/federal sources). Here’s breakdown of the specific bills:
- A bill to create public-private partnerships(P3). This would allow MDOT to enter into P3’s to build and operate transportation projects and could be a way to create toll roads in Michigan where necessary.
- A bill to expand the Asset Management program to all public roads and transit programs. Asset Management will provide consistency among long term agency plans and help us at the local level extend the transportation dollar to its maximum.
- A bill to reward counties for planning multi-county corridors. - This will provide extra state aid to counties that jointly plan and build projects that function as multi-county through routes, lessening the amount needed to match on some federally funded projects.
- A bill to establish a regionalization planing and grant program for transit projects. This will allow for a customized approach for transit agencies to provide a coordinated effort to provide services for those areas that need/want transit.
- A bill that will provide a New Transit Service Program. This program could be funded with up to $50 million/year to support new rapid/regional transit services in the state.
- A bill that will limit the amount of funds the Secretary of State receive from transportation collections and allow the Michigan Transportation Fund (MTF) to receive tolls as well as gas tax/vehicle registrations.
- A bill to enable Tax Increment Financing Authorities for any transportation project. This is what we tried to do with HB 6114 last year.
- A bill to enable Private Investment Infrastructure (PIIF) Option. This is similar to a TIFA but allows private investors to fund all or part of a transportation projects.
- A bill allowing for a $25 local option fee to be placed on drivers licenses if approved by a county-wide vote for transportation projects.
- A bill to implement a wholesale gas tax that begins on 1/1/10 and will cap annual gas tax increases by 5.5. cents in the first year and 3 cents each after that up to a maximum of a 90% increase in the gas tax over 7 years.
- A bill to implement a wholesale diesel tax the same as the aforementioned bill.
- A bill to increase vehicle registrations by 10% the first year and 20% a year for the next 4 years; and increase commercial vehicle registrations by 20% over the next 4 years.
- A bill to increase the aviation fuel tax from 3 cents to 2 1/2 percent of the wholesale price.
The full transportation funding package can be found here: TF2 Transportation Funding Legislation.
Despite this being complicated, there is at least a target now that we can shoot people towards. I’m looking forward to working on this and to having it enacted before the Legislature leaves for the summer break. Please let me know if you have any questions on this.