Christie says there’s no transportation crisis but many disagree stating potholes are opening everywhere, there’s another possible fare hike for New Jersey commuters, and bridges in New Jersey were ranked 6th worst in the country.
Christie and lawmakers have been struggling to find sources of revenue for the New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund, refusing to commit to increasing the state 14.5 cent gas tax to support the $1.6 Billion they spend a year on infrastructure.
Without increase in revenue all the money raised by gas tax and tolls will go to paying off funds debt after June 30.
To see what they plan on spend $1.5 Billion on and more info go to NJ Spotlight
Highway projects received just 3% of 2009’s stimulus package ($27 Billion of $787 billion). For years we’ve been hoping for a long term bill. In the 6 years Obama been in office no major progress has occurred in the nations transport infrastructure. Although Obama did say infrastructure investments help a stagnant economy and expand economic competitiveness.
But Obama might be redeeming himself, his administration just proposed a $478 billion over 6 years infrastructure package. It plans to pay for half of the cost with a one-time 14% tax of the repatriation of foreign earnings held abroad by U.S. corporation.
For more info go to DC Velocity>>
The Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx stated that the DOT has been working for more than a year on the plan to improve the nations infrastructure in a 30 year plan. The 30 year plan moves us forward into the future of transportation. Predicting technological advances such as Driverless Cars, Drone Delivery and further Ride-Hailing services.
At the rate we are going we will have a plethora of technological advances but we will also have run down infrastructure and that is unacceptable. The Secretary of Transportations choice to announce the plans with Google shows their plans to go past government speeds and work with the transportation technology in Silicon Valley.
With America’s infrastructure deteriorating both the president and the senate are scrambling to find solutions, perhaps the solution might be bigger trucks. The idea is to increase the less than truckload to 33 feet from its current 28 feet without increasing the trailer weight limits.
It was recently found that twin 33 foot trailers are actually a lot safer than our standard 28 foot trailers. This would also improve fuel efficiency, reduce emissions, and would have less trucks on the road. Possibly shrinking the driver shortage gap.
While we wait for the Bi-partisan bill from Senators Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) the independent Senator Sanders (Vt.) has filed a $1T, 5 year transportation infrastructure spending bill. He did not give further details on how it would be funded but did discuss the importance of “rebuilding America.”
For more go to CCJ>>
The changes to the hours of service regulations are being celebrated by many trucking associations around the country, and they have Senator Collins to thank for it. Here’s a little information on the woman behind the HOS amendment.
-First elected in 1996, this is her 3rd term.
-In 2011 Collins got trucks weighing up to 100,000 lbs on Maine highways that were once re-routed to busy downtown streets.
-Collins lives in a rural northern part of Maine, it’s big trucking country.
– Collins efforts won praise by many trucking associations as well as FedEx.
– FedEx was her 9th largest contributor with $44,500.
-Collins raised $2.76 million in total.
-She has fought for many other issues including, repealing $50 billion in tax breaks for tobacco industry and helped repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell”
– In 2002 she became chairman of Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee and continues to work as a member.
The American Trucking Association has been pushing for Congress to find a long term highway funding solution however, Obama does not believe that it will get done this year, suggesting Congress concentrate on finding a short-term highway funding fix instead. Obama challenges congress to “redesign and think through how, what is a sustainable way for us on a regular basis to make the investments we need… we’ve got to figure it out”
Raising the gas tax seems like the quickest and most rational fix, which is probably why a bi-partisan pair in the house is pushing for a fuel tax increase. Their bill proposition suggests raising the gasoline and diesel tax by 15 cents over the next three year and more importantly indexing the tax to inflation. They quoted another president, “We simply cannot allow this magnificent (infrastructure) system to deteriorate beyond repair.”- Reagan. He then raised the gas tax from 4 to 9 cents a gallon two months later. The bi-partisan pair might have some support but there are huge challenges.
The reason Obama believes they will not find a highway fund solution anytime soon is the current lame-duck session that Congress is in. Plus, even if they weren’t in a lame-duck session Congress hasn’t raised the gas tax in over 20 years and there’s a reason for that, it’s strategically frightening for members of Congress. It seems the challenges for this simple solution to a major problem might actually be detrimental.
For The Video on Obama’s Proposition go to Transport Topics>>
For More on the Bi- Partisans Proposed Raise in Gas Tax go to HDT>>
This year there is an expected increase in Thanksgiving weekend travel which starts today (Nov 26) and ends Sunday (Nov 30). The reason for the increase is believed to come from two factors, one because people are more optimistic on the economy and two because Americans are seeing the lowest gas prices since 2009.
More than 46 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles. These stats are 4.2% higher than last year and are the highest stats since 2007.
89% will travel by highway a 4.3% increase from last year.
Average Distance traveled is 549 miles roundtrip.
Average Spending amounts to $573.
An estimated 418 traffic fatalities/ 44,7000 injuries requiring medical attention.
And an estimated 153 lives saved during thanksgiving because of seat belts.
10 New Governors were elected, with half of those coming from opposing political parties than before. Republicans net gained three governors and took control of the senate. Now what does this mean for us?
-Congress has been under pressure for awhile to produce a LONG TERM transportation bill. Something that has been unsuccessful since 2009. The current bill funds the states transportation until May 2015, which is a problem since states rely on federal funding for more then 50% of their transportation money. Here is a broad list of what is being developed.
New State Transportation Money
States really working on it: Texas, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan.
Federal Surface Transportation Money
The reason congress hasn’t been able to figure out of a long term bill for transportation is that neither congress or Obama want to raise the gas tax, which has not been raised since 1993. With the republican in control of congress that won’t change, but the positive, Republican are going to have to work hard to prove themselves.
The good news first, 70% of voters approve of the current local public transits. Atlanta plans to expand MARTA and both Seattle and San Francisco have voted for measures to support public transit.
The bad news, Florida voters voted against tax increase to support transit. Baltimore and Washington DC might be having some issues with the surprising win of Republican Larry Hogan for Governor of Maryland, who stated he wanted to cancel both the Baltimore Red Line and Washington DC purple line projects. (Both projects have been worked on for years)
For more specific details for to Governing>>
With all of these debates in Congress on the infrastructure budgets and future improvements on highways, an interesting market to discuss is the Smart Highway Market. The Smart Highway market is the latest technological transportation market to pop up. Although it is currently only estimated at 12.56 million It is estimated to grow 17.4% annually and to grow more than double in 2019 at nearly 28 million.
Smart Highway Systems Already Being Produced:
-Electronic Toll Collection
-Lane Department Warning Systems
-Variable Message Sign, however there is still so much untapped development.
Smart Highway Technologies Being Developed
-Intelligent Transport Management Systems
-Intelligent Traffic Management Systems
-Communication & Monitoring Systems
-Services: consultancy, managed services, and maintenance and operation services.
Some of the Challenges Hindering Development
-Faulty driver information
-Unseemly traffic flow generated by lousy highway communication infrastructure
-Lack of technological & training in Smart High Market
Key Players are Smart Highway Market
Alcatel Lucent, Indra, Kapsch AG, LG CNS, Siemens AG, and Xerox Corporation.
Obama’s first secretary of Transportation Ray Lahood and the current secretary of transportation Anthony Foxx have both discussed the importance of voting this coming tuesday, when 435 congress seats will be elected. They remind us that the current congress has not been able to pass a long term high way bill, LaHood claims that there is no vision in todays congress. Here are some interesting infrastructure facts by both the former and current secretary of transportation.
Thoughts by Ray Lahood (Former Secretary of Transportation)
– The US used to be #1 in infrastructure, we are now #15
-“Build an interstate road and you create a corridor of commerce.”
– Recommends gas tax increase of 10 cents per gallon, and it needs to be indexed to the cost of living.
– Him and the rest of the Obama administration were working on plans to boost a world class high speed rail which has cost $8 billion.
Thoughts by Anthony Foxx (Current Secretary of Transportation)
-People are finally understanding that “short term measures are doing damage to our system.”
-The current gas tax is 18.4 cents but has not been raised since 1993.
-The Last Transportation Bill approved by congress (2012) included $50 billion per year but the gas tax is only bring in $34 billion per year.
For more on Ray Lahood go to Trucking Info>>
For Anthony Foxx go to The Trucker>>