While raising the gas tax is still a politically treacherous idea in Washington, lawmakers in state capitals are increasingly coming around to it. Already this year, governors in California, Indiana and Tennessee signed laws to raise fuel taxes, meaning a total of 22 states have passed laws imposing higher gas taxes in the past five years. Chances are also good that the list will grow even longer this year. “It is such an unusual thing to see nearly two dozen states boosting taxes in such a short amount of time,” says Carl Davis, the research director for the left-leaning Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP). But the reason so many states have gone ahead with fuel tax increases is because of support from business groups. “They’re viewing [gas tax hikes] as economic development initiatives,” he says. Ratings agency analysts agree with the assessment. “These states’ actions address investment needs that are critical to preserving and expanding their economies,” wrote researchers at Moody’s Investors Service last week. “Increasingly, states are moving to close the gap created by flat federal spending on transportation, mounting needs, more fuel efficient vehicles and the erosion of per-gallon gas taxes amid inflation.” Keep reading >>
It’s easy to understand why the media is fascinated with autonomous vehicles. Scarcely a day goes by without another company’s announcement of new driverless technology. The latest is Apple, which just received permission from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to test self-driving cars on the state’s roadways. This brings the tally to 30 companies, not only the likes of Google and Tesla but also a long list of traditional automakers including BMW, Ford, GM, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Volkswagen and Subaru. However intriguing driverless cars may be conceptually, their integration into our transportation system will demand well-informed and insightful planning. In response to this challenge, the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California-Davis last year launched its 3 Revolutions Policy Initiative to explore the impacts and synergies of vehicle automation along with two other disruptive technologies — electrification and vehicle sharing. Keep reading >>
Over the next two weeks 8 cities will be sharing their approaches to local procurement processes. We invite you to review pitches from Charlotte, Chicago, Los Angeles, Louisville, Milwaukee, Memphis, Newark, and Philadelphia. Share your thoughts on their potential to expand city innovation and increase economic opportunity. GIVE YOUR CITY 5 STARS.
Oscoda area residents whose wells are affected by groundwater contamination from the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base have been urged by state and local public health officials to seek an alternative water supply.
In a move that could open Missouri to thousands of jobs for Uber and Lyft drivers while pounding another nail in the tire of traditional taxi services, Gov. Eric Greitens signed legislation paving the way for the new transportation companies to more easily operate statewide.