We cannot overstate the importance of your relentless participation in this effort for the next week. Rep. Mac McCutcheon (R-Huntsville) has introduced an infrastructure funding bill (HB 394). The bill will travel in the house with SB 180 - The Alabama Transportation Safety Fund - by Senator Gerald Dial (R-Lineville) which has already passed the senate.
The bills will be in the House Transportation Committee tomorrow (Thursday) at 8:00 a.m.. We feel good about he votes in committee.
INFORMATION ON THE BILLS AND CONTACT INFORMATION BELOW!
HERE IS A SAMPLE LETTER ALL CAN USE.
Safe and effective road and bridge infrastructure is essential to keeping Alabama economically competitive. Quality infrastructure is paramount to attract and retain job creators, keep drivers and passengers safe, and maintain a high quality of life for our citizens. Alabama’s competitiveness is suffering because of reduced buying power due to three factors: inflation, increased costs of construction and maintenance, and decreased fuel usage based on more fuel-efficient vehicles.
Road Conditions: Nearly 50 percent of state highways are in fair, poor or very poor condition (ASCE Report Card).
Long-Term Economic Growth: In a 2013 survey, corporate executives ranked highway accessibility as the second-most important factor when selecting a new site (Area Development Magazine).
Return on Investment: Each dollar spent on road, bridge and highway improvements in Alabama results in an average benefit per person of $5.20 (FHA).
Vehicle Maintenance Cost: Driving on roads in need of repair costs each Alabama motorist an average of $320 per year in additional vehicle operating maintenance (AIRC).
State Responsibility: We must manage our own infrastructure – the federal government cannot provide a long-term solution to transportation funding challenges
Fatalities: Alabama ranked 5th for states where drivers are more likely to be involved in a fatal traffic accident (NHTSA). A total of 4,321 people died on Alabama’s highways from 2009-2013 (FHWA).
HB 394 Summary:
- Dedicated: Deposits all new revenue generated by the bill into the Alabama Transportation Safety Fund as established in SB 180 (see back for more details)
- Regionally Competitive: Establishes the average of Alabama’s border state’s gas tax as the benchmark for our gas and diesel taxes using the totals as determined by the American Petroleum Institute. Currently, that average is .26 cents which would result in an increase of .06 cents per gallon in diesel and gasoline effective Oct. 1, 2016
- Sustainable: Provides for benchmarking of the rate of Alabama’s gasoline and diesel fuel taxes into the future by maintaining the linkage between Alabama’s tax rates and those of the border states. The adjustment would take place in October of 2019, 2023 and 2027.
- Accountable: The adjustment could be blocked by a vote of the legislature via a Joint Resolution.
- Fair: Provides for an additional tag fee on “alternative fuel” vehicles of $100 for personal vehicles and $150 for commercial. This amount represents approximately half of the annual amount of gasoline tax that would be paid by these vehicles if they utilized only petroleum products.
- Reform: Requires any future local laws regarding local fuel taxes to be voted on the ballot via a public referendum. Also, allows for a public referendum at the county level on a local tax of .02 cents per gallon should the legislature block the benchmarking in future years as outlined above.
- Responsible: It further includes language ensuring there is no reduction in county road programs, as they exist today. This means local governments cannot divert existing road program revenues for other non-road and bridge projects.
SB 180 - Alabama Transportation Safety Fund - reforms the current system of managing, operating, and investing in Alabama’s roads so that it creates transparency, accountability, and oversight of state transportation expenditures. During these tough economic times, taxpayers, especially small businesses, are already carrying a heavy burden, benefits of a proposal should outweigh the costs for existing taxpayers.
SB 180 ensures that 100% of any new revenue must be fully dedicated to road and bridge construction and maintenance and protected from diversions to other state programs or agencies.
SB 180 Summary:
- Responsible: The Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT), counties, and municipalities would be required to use funds on road and bridge projects and not on salaries or administrative expenses;
- Transparent: ALDOT would be required to announce annual projects and post quarterly progress reports on its website. Counties and cities would be required to adopt annual plans that identify the road and bridge projects for the year and post the plans throughout the district. County and city engineers must provide annual written reports detailing the expenditures made during the prior fiscal year;
- Local Priority: Provides the first $32 million of any increase in revenue to counties via the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation Improvement Program (ATRIP) that would allow for an additional ATRIP program of up to $300 million to expedite construction in every county;
- Consistent: After the first $32 million in new revenue, the current distribution formula between the state, counties, and cities will be followed: 65.9 percent to the state and 34.1 percent to counties and cities;
- Local Sustainability: If a growth or indexing component is included for new revenue, the ATRIP element would be expanded further to allow for an additional $32 million for local projects.
- Equitable: Provides for $500,000 to be distributed to each county, that must be let via contracts, in lieu of the $533,000 in federal dollars each county gets currently in order to provide more certainty and flexibility to counties;
- Accountable: Expands the ATRIP Committee to include local government and business representatives.
We need you and your employees to contact house members and urge them to vote for both of these bills. A copy of the white paper may be accessed HERE.
Owens Cross Roads
K. L. Brown
A. J. McCampbell
Information provided to the AGC from the ARBA.