Tom Graves, Senator Mike Lee Introduce Highway Funding Reform Bill

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Representative Tom Graves (R-Ga.A-14) and Senator Mike Lee (R-Ut.), along with 20 House and Senate cosponsors, introduced on Thursday, the Transportation Empowerment Act, a bill "to open up America’s transportation system to greater local control, better targeted projects, and a more efficient way to maintain and improve the nation’s infrastructure." 

The bill allows states to respond to the needs of their communities and develop systems that result in less traffic, shorter commutes, access to more affordable homes, and help families better manage the work-life balance.

“People want to spend less time in traffic and more time enjoying life,” said Rep. Graves, who authored the TEA Act in the last Congress as well. “Our bill does away with the Washington middleman and streamlines the highway program, allowing more projects to be completed at a lower cost. This approach paves the way for commuters to move more easily between home and work, freeing up important family time and cutting out hours of frustration behind the wheel.”

"Under the Transportation Empowerment Act, Americans would no longer have to send significant gas-tax revenue to Washington, where sticky-fingered politicians, bureaucrats, and lobbyists take their cut before sending it back with strings attached,” said Senator Lee. "Instead, states and cities could plan, finance, and build better-designed and more affordable projects.Local communities should finally have the flexibility to develop the kind of transportation system they want, for less money, without politicians and special interests from other parts of the country telling them how, when, what, and where they should build. For the country as a whole, our plan would mean a better infrastructure system, new jobs and opportunities, diverse localism, and innovative environmental protection. And for working families, it could mean more access to quality, affordable homes, less time on the road – and making it home in time for dinner with the kids.”

Original cosponsors of the TEA Act are:
Sen. Marco Rubio (FL) and Reps. Jeff Duncan (SC-3), Rob Woodall (GA-7), Ron DeSantis (FL-6), Bill Huizenga (MI-2), Randy Weber (TX-14), Justin Amash (MI-3), Todd Rokita (IN-4), Lynn Westmoreland (GA-3), Marlin Stutzman (IN-3), Louie Gohmert (TX-1), Trent Franks (AZ-8), Walter Jones (NC-3), Jeb Hensarling (TX-5), Mick Mulvaney (SC-5), David Schweikert (AZ-6), Billy Long (MO-7), Paul Broun (GA-10), Kevin Brady (TX-8), Phil Gingrey (GA-11).

Legislation details:

Transportation Empowerment Act

How It Works

·         Transfers almost all authority over federal highway and transit programs to the states over a five-year period.

·         Lowers the federal gas tax to 3.7 cents from 18.4 cents over the same time period.

·         During the five-year phase out, states will receive block grants that come with vastly fewer federal strings attached.

What It Does

·         Immediately reduces the bureaucratic burden involved in the construction of critical transportation projects.

·         Results in a faster administrative response to the transportation problems Americans face, such as traffic, commuting, and access.

·         Gives states greater flexibility in their tax structure.

·         Connects where people want to work with where they want to live.

·         Opens opportunities to develop new mass-transit solutions, innovate environmental protections, and improve the financing of projects.

·         Creates jobs and grows the economy.

Why The Current System Hurts The Commute

·         When the costs of federal red tape and Highway Trust Fund redistribution are taken into account, 37 states, including Georgia and Utah, have a rate of return below 100%.  For example, Georgia’s estimated buying power in Fiscal Year 2014 is anticipated to be approximately 84% based on the most recent Highway Trust Fund payment information available, costing Georgia taxpayers $185 million.

·         For Fiscal Year 2014, $820 million was authorized nationwide for so-called “transportation alternatives” defined as landscaping, scenic beautification, and transportation museums, among other items.

 


Patrick, Beard, Schulman And Jacoway, P.C. Attorneys Selected To 2016 Mid-South Super Lawyers List

Patrick, Beard, Schulman and Jacoway, P.C. announces that Richard A. Schulman, Michael A. Anderson, and Jeremy M. Cothern have been selected by their peers for inclusion in the Mid-South Super Lawyers for 2016. Each year, no more than five percent of the lawyers in the states of Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive ... (click for more)

Hamilton County Emergency Communications District Implements Inform CAD, Mobile System

Hamilton County Emergency Communications District has gone live with Inform CAD and Mobile, a step in an upgrade of their emergency communications and response technology. Combining the new technologies in place at Hamilton County which include TriTech 911, which Hamilton County installed in 2014, Inform CAD, and Inform Mobile, provides the district with a modernized communications ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Council Looking Into Taking Over Schools

A new group of Signal Mountain Town Council members is looking into taking over county schools within the town boundaries.   Two newly elected board members, Amy Speek and Dan Landrum, joined the council Friday afternoon at the first work session after the election. The election of mayor and vice mayor for the next two years came first on the agenda. Dick Gee, mayor ... (click for more)

Curtis Coleman Sentenced To 144 Months For Dealing Heroin

Curtis Allen Coleman, 41, of Dayton, Ohio, was sentenced to serve 144 months in prison by Federal Judge Travis R. McDonough for heroin distribution in Chattanooga. Coleman pleaded guilty in August to a federal indictment charging him with, among other things, conspiracy to distribute heroin.  According to information on file with the United States District ... (click for more)

Tennessee River Gorge Trust Trail Warriors Make You Want To Take A Hike

Trail warriors of the Tennessee River Gorge Trust make you want to take a hike.  The Tennessee River Gorge Trust staff and volunteers make a huge difference in the Chattanooga community and have been making the outdoor areas around the River Gorge clean and protected for more than 30 years.  They deserve to be recognized and praised for all of the hard work they have ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Why Our Schools Stink

Cheryl Roddy has spent her lifetime, for the biggest part, as a teacher for the Hamilton County Department of Education and, more specifically, at East Ridge High School. She has loved teaching there for nearly 40 years and is hardly “average;” she has her master's degree in education, was twice East Ridge’s teacher of the year, was the first teacher at East Ridge to reach the first ... (click for more)