Governors propose financing options for transportation
Raising taxes isn’t the only way to fund transportation projects, according to an issue brief released this week by the Washington-based National Governors Association Center for Best Practices. Two authors of the brief, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell, say states must be creative in finding ways to raise the $222 billion needed annually to maintain and expand the nation’s highways and transit systems.
In addition to the $222 billion, the National Chamber Foundation of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that another $66 billion is needed to bring the system to a level where it enhances productivity, according to the brief. “States play the largest role in funding the construction, operation and maintenance of our national transportation network,” Rendell says. “Governors are taking the lead in developing solutions to state transportation funding challenges.” For example, Daniels has leased Indiana’s toll road to a private company, and Rendell is researching investor interest in Pennsylvania’s turnpike.
Other options include debt financing to reduce project development costs, creating partnerships with local governments and reducing long-term growth in highway travel demand. The brief is available at www.nga.org.