2014-15 Policy and legislative agenda

The SASHTO Board of Directors met on August 26, 2014 and adopted resolutions which support this Policy and Legislation Agenda. The full text of the resolutions is at Resolutions2014.pdf.

MAP-21 Reauthorization — the new program structure and performance-based approach to transportation decision-making must be given sufficient time for an effective implementation. Congress should reauthorize MAP-21 for four years with increased funding and maximum flexibility for states to address their unique mobility and access needs.

Transportation Funding — because the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) is experiencing a deficit between receipts and outlays averaging $17 billion per year and in light of concerns over the sustainability of the HTF, SASHTO urges Congress to consider an investment level to equal and maintain the 1993 revenue levels (adjusted for inflation) from federal motor fuel taxes and other HTF revenue sources.

Toll Interoperability — with increasing interest among states to explore toll financing as a potential method to address current and future transportation improvement needs, SASHTO states should promote electronic toll collection interoperability among the toll agencies of their respective states. The development of enforceable reciprocity rules through state laws and/or regulations is also recommended.

National Highway System — MAP-21 added functionally local routes that do not meet the system intent of the NHS nor provide any significant regional, state or national role(s). This places undue additional requirements on states such as data collection, outdoor advertisement and junkyard control regulations and more stringent design standards. Congress should revise the present modification process to allow States, in consultation with responsible local officials, to selectively remove and add any and all mileage from the NHS in line with the appropriate system criteria.

Wetland Preservation — under present regulations minimal credit is given to preservation of wetlands associated with infrastructure projects. SASHTO urges an approach that better recognizes the value of wetland preservation and seeks to amend the Clean Water Act with greater consideration of the preservation of existing natural wetland areas as a suitable means of mitigating infrastructure projects.

Transportation Alternatives Program Projects — the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) prohibits state sponsorship of projects (a prohibition that did not exist for predecessor programs). SASHTO urges elimination of the unnecessary prohibition and recommends that states be permitted to use up to 50% of the TAP apportionment for eligible activities at the State DOT’s discretion. Congress should also allow TAP funds to be used for administrative costs as allowed in similar programs.

Transportation & the Economy — SASHTO recommends an expanded federal, state and private sector collaboration to reinvest in transportation infrastructure at levels that would steadily reduce the backlog of needs while spurring economic growth. Congress should advance legislation that promotes and incentivizes public-private partnerships in various ways to expand transportation revenue.

National Performance Measures — SASHTO states are committed to performance management and performance measurement, but strongly oppose using performance measures to apportion federal funds among the states. SASHTO urges Congress to require that three state performance reporting cycles be completed before considering further changes to performance measures. States and MPOs should also have maximum flexibility in setting performance targets.

Leading Transportation Change & Innovation — States are laboratories for innovation. SASHTO states will continue to be innovation leaders creating, implementing and sharing solutions to meet the transportation challenges of today and the future. SASHTO will partner with all levels of government and other stakeholder organizations to foster an innovative and collaborative problem solving climate.

New Partnerships — SASHTO states commit to greater collaboration with the Southern Governors Association, the Southern Legislative Conference, the private sector and others to advocate common transportation policies, strategies, and solutions to meeting our transportation needs.

Truck Size and Weight Laws — SASHTO opposes any legislation that would result in greater damage to the nation’s highways. A study of truck size and weight impacts mandated by MAP-21 is anticipated to be completed before the end of 2014. The study results will be reviewed by the SASHTO Strategic Transportation Issues Committee.