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Issue: 5                                       Government Services                                 August 2014

 


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Welcome to Cross County Connection's Newsletter for Municipal and County Leaders! These newsletters will provide updates on recent transportation-related projects and accomplishments, regional transportation news, and major construction activity in southern New Jersey. Feel free to share with your staff, residents and local businesses. We hope you enjoy!

 

 

Legislative Update: Federal Government Averts Highway Trust Fund Crisis...For Now

       

On August 8th, President Obama signed into law a $10.8 billion bill that will keep the Highway Trust Fund afloat until May 2015. The signing of this bill is a huge relief to state DOTs, local governments, transit riders and commuters. The Highway Trust Fund is the primary revenue source used to fund roadway projects and transit systems that rely on federal dollars to cover certain costs. 

Signing of the bill averts a potential crisis

for the nation's transportation system. If Congress was unable to pass a bill before adjourning for the scheduled August recess, the Trust Fund would likely have gone broke before they returned to Washington in September. The USDOT would have had to hold back on reimbursing states for moneys spent on transit systems and ongoing roadway projects. This means that states may not have been able to pay project contractors and transit operators, unless they had a back-up plan in place. This could have caused work to halt on local highway projects, such as the on-going construction on I-295, and created disruptive service cuts to public transit systems like NJ TRANSIT.

 

This bill is an extension of the current federal surface transportation law, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). MAP-21 creates and sets the funding limits for the numerous federal funding programs that are used to build and maintain the nation's surface transportation system. MAP-21 was set to expire on September 30, 2014, but as mentioned previously, the revenue source dedicated to fund its programs, the Highway Trust Fund, was on pace to be insolvent before that date. The extension infused general revenues into the Trust Fund through the use of higher customs fees and a controversial budget technique known as pension smoothing.

 

Bolstering the Highway Trust Fund with general revenues has become a common occurrence. Prior to this bill, Congress has transferred approximately $54 billion in general revenues into the Trust Fund since 2008. The Highway Trust Fund relies upon an 18.4¢ federal gas tax to generate revenues. Due to a number of factors, including higher motor vehicle fuel efficiency standards and a steady decrease in the numbers of vehicle miles Americans are traveling per year, the gas tax has been unable to generate enough revenue to cover expenditures. Another contributing factor is that the gas tax has not been raised since 1993. Due to inflation, 18.4¢ in 2014 does not pay for what 18.4¢ did in 1993.

 

The MAP-21 extension has postponed debate on Capitol Hill regarding the long-term future of funding the surface transportation system temporarily. MAP-21 is still set to expire next May and there is still no permanent solution to the regularly occurring need to bolster the Highway Trust Fund. Stay tuned to this newsletter for developments along these related fronts, as the debate is sure to heat up in the next few months.  

 

 

Upcoming Events

 

South Jersey Tour Des Farms

September 6th 8AM - 3PM

Jack Allen Memorial Early Country Living Museum

224 Landing Street, Vincentown, NJ 08088

 

 

 

South Jersey News Flash


Where you should live in NJ, based on your transportation needs
Star Ledger | July 25, 2014

DOT launches roadwork on I-295 bridges in Camco, Burlco
Courier-Post | July 28, 2014

Statistics tell the story of danger on Route 47
Press of Atlantic City | August 9, 2014

NJ Transit launches customer satisfaction survey
Courier-Post | August 11, 2014

New Jersey resists raising highway speed limits
Claims Journal | August 13, 2014

 

Cross County Connection's Mission: To improve the quality of life in southern New Jersey through transportation solutions.

 

About Us: Cross County Connection, a nonprofit organization, partners with the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA), the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), NJ TRANSIT, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), the South Jersey Transportation Planning Organization (SJTPO), member organizations and the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, to provide solutions to complex transportation problems for counties, municipalities and employers in the southern New Jersey region encompassing Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties. 

 

 

This Cross County Connection Transportation Management Association publication is funded by the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. The U.S. Government and NJTPA assume no liability for the contents.  

 

 

                      

 

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Cross County Connection TMA
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