As funding battles loom in legislatures, Transportation for America launches network to support state efforts to fulfill visions for economic success
For immediate release
DENVER, CO — With representatives from 30 states convening in Denver for a strategy conference, Transportation for America today announced the launch of a new network to support state efforts to pass legislation to raise transportation funding while improving accountability for spending it.
As Congress continues to postpone tough decisions on federal transportation funding, several states have responded by raising new revenues of their own for transportation. Other states are hoping to do the same in 2015. That is why T4America brought together more than 100 experts and participants for the Denver Capital Ideas conference, where they are sharing experiences and insights that can help other states take on the thorny issue of transportation funding in their state legislatures.
“Federal gas tax revenues are dropping and prospects of returning to robust national investment are uncertain, at best,” said T4America director, James Corless. “States that want to continue investing will have to explore new ways to raise funding for transportation on their own.”
Twenty states considered legislation to increase transportation funding in some form in 2013. Since 2012, 12 states have successfully raised new revenues. A handful of other state legislative leaders and governors have already indicated that transportation funding will be on the front burner in 2015.
“They say that states are the laboratories of democracy,” said John Robert Smith, the chair of T4America and former mayor of Meridian, MS. “And many are proving right now how to stand in the gap created by federal inaction. But to fulfill their homegrown solutions, they need help with everything from finding innovative revenue sources to crafting political strategies and legislative language. Our hope is that this new network will help replicate success across the country and empower states and regions that want to make this happen.”
At the same time, T4America is working with local leaders across the country to prepare for the possibility of action in the new Congress convening in January.
“There is still an enormous opportunity,” said Corless, “because Congress still must update the federal transportation program, MAP-21, by next May. This gives us an important chance to resuscitate and reinvigorate the program in exciting ways, so that it better suits the needs of people in the communities where they live.”
CAPITAL IDEAS (http://t4america.org/capital-ideas) is a two-day conference in Denver, convened by Transportation for America to support this kind of work at the state level. View the full agenda and list of speakers here: http://t4america.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/T4A-Capital-Ideas-Agenda.pdf
Contact: David Goldberg
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