Vol. 4 Issue 2 | December 2017
NCSL offers a range of transportation policy services to legislators and legislative staff, including state-by-state analysis of transportation issues, technical assistance, tailored responses to policy questions and in-person meetings to learn from other states and national experts.
The Transporter is a periodic newsletter highlighting key state and federal legislation and developments impacting transportation policy. The newsletter provides updates on the latest state transportation news, trends, recent publications, upcoming meetings and more.
NCSL is pleased to be heading to sunny Coronado Island for the 2017 Capitol Forum, taking place Dec. 10-13. Throughout the meeting we have transportation focused programming beginning with a pre-conference on highly autonomous vehicles on Dec. 10. Later in the week, various sessions will cover managed lanes, traffic safety, smart cities and cybersecurity of autonomous vehicles. Email Kevin Pula for more information.
NCSL hosted the 2017 State Transportation Leaders Symposium: Current Challenges and the Future of Autonomy (STLS) on Oct. 25-27 in Denver. More than 30 transportation-focused legislators and legislative staff attended the symposium to learn about pressing policy topics facing states across the country. Topics included: innovations to reduce impaired driving; best practices to fund and finance transportation systems; and the future of autonomous vehicles. Visit the STLS webpage to view the meeting agenda and access the meeting resources.
States continue to work on improving safety in the transportation of children on school buses. While this is already the safest mode of transportation for children to get to and from school, there are various approaches states can take to make it safer. NCSL developed a postcard with information on school bus passing cameras and school bus seat belts in October. Also in October, NCSL’s podcast “Our American States” featured an episode addressing seat belts on school buses.
All 50 states, the District of Columbia and the federal government levy motor fuel taxes—a primary source of transportation funding. However, the combination of increased road use, leading to more construction and maintenance needs, along with flattened revenues resulting from fuel-efficient vehicles, has put pressure on lawmakers to increase or restructure motor fuel taxes. Download the full LegisBrief Today!
In August, NCSL released the final report from the NCSL Foundation Partnership for Multi-Sector Public-Private Partnerships. The report examines how states have used the P3 delivery model for infrastructure projects outside of the transportation realm. Informed heavily by the year-long P3 Partnership and previous NCSL resources on P3s for transportation.
The NCSL Transportation Program staff are available to testify as policy experts. As a free service to state legislatures, NCSL staff can provide expert testimony or presentations to state legislative committees, task forces or other meetings of state lawmakers on a range of transportation related topics. Please email Kevin Pula for further information or to request an NCSL staffer to come to your state.
Did you know NCSL has two databases dedicated to tracking state transportation legislation besides our brand new Autonomous Vehicles Legislative Database? With NCSL’s State Traffic Safety Legislation Database, you can search for traffic safety related bills between 2007 and 2017 in 14 topic areas. This database is generously supported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. You can also peruse NCSL’s Transportation Funding and Finance Database to see how states are funding and financing their transportation systems.
On Sept. 20, Amanda Essex testified before the Utah Transportation Interim Committee on the topic of autonomous vehicle regulation. She presented on the topic of seat belts on school buses at the National Association for Pupil Transportation conference in Columbus, Ohio on Nov. 6. Ms. Essex also represented NCSL at the Florida Automated Vehicle Summit in Tampa, Florida on Nov. 14 and 15.
Former Transportation staffer Anne Teigen was in Kentucky on July 6 to present on autonomous vehicle regulation to the Interim Joint Committee on Transportation.
Ben Husch presented to Wisconsin’s Steering Committee on Autonomous and Connected Vehicle Testing and Deployment in Madison, Wis., on Oct. 18. He was also a panelist at the Domestic Drone Security Series hosted by Hogan Lovells in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 28.
Kevin Pula spoke in July on national trends in state transportation funding to the 21st Century Missouri Transportation System Task Force in Kansas City, Mo. In late July, he presented to Idaho’s Commercial Vehicle Annual Registration Fee Committee on approaches by other states to structuring registration fees for commercial vehicles. On Sept. 7, Mr. Pula was in Frankfort, Ky., meeting with the Kentucky House of Representative’s Working Group on Kentucky’s Transportation Infrastructure regarding other state efforts to increase or restructure transportation revenue streams.
10/27/17: The U.S. Department of Treasury reported that total Highway Trust Fund (HTF) receipts were $41.127 billion for FY 2017, down 0.5 percent from $41.344 billion in FY 2016.
10/25/2017: President Donald Trump issued a presidential memorandum directing the U.S. Department of Transportation to establish a pilot program to help spur further innovation of unmanned aerial systems (drones). Specifically, the pilot program would allow states and local governments to propose new models for regulating drones and apply for waivers from Federal Aviation Administration regulations that currently prohibit certain types of drone operations, including beyond visual-line-of-sight, nighttime operations and flights over people. For more information read NCSL’s Info Alert.
10/24/2017: The U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao confirmed that work on an infrastructure package would not commence until Congress has finalized work on tax reform.