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.

 


Chattanooga Area Labor Council To Host Workers Memorial Day Event

The Chattanooga Area Labor Council will host a Workers Memorial Day Event on Monday, April 28, to remember all workers who have suffered and died on the job and to renew efforts for safe workplaces.    This is a worldwide campaign, sponsored by the AFL-CIO, to generate awareness and support of workers’ rights to "safe, healthy and respectful work environments."   ... (click for more)

Hicks Speaker For Walker Chamber's Monthly Membership Luncheon

The University of Georgia’s Small Business Development Center will be highlighted by keynote speaker Kinsey Hicks, program coordinator, during the Walker County Chamber of Commerce’s April Membership Luncheon which will take place on Tuesday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Walker County Civic Center, 10052 N Hwy 27, Rock Spring, GA.    The Mission of the ... (click for more)

Bus Driver Will Not Face Charges In Tragic Bus Accident

Sergeant Tommy Sturdivan announced in a Friday afternoon press conference that the investigation into the death of six-year-old Zackery Bryant at Chattanooga Valley Elementary has been officially declared complete and that there will be no criminal charges. Zackery died tragically on Monday morning after being hit by a school bus after stepping off. According to Sgt. Sturdivan, ... (click for more)

Soddy Daisy May Begin Effort To Allow Wine In Grocery Stores; Concussion Forms Required For Sporting Events; WWTA Chided For Causing Potholes

The Soddy Daisy Commission is considering taking steps to allow wine in grocery stores now that Tennessee lawmakers have voted to lift restrictions. To have the law appear on the next ballot for a vote, Mayor Janice Cagle said a petition with an amount of signatures totaling 10 percent of the number of voters in the last general election will have to be collected. Commissioner ... (click for more)

State Moving Forward In Educational Improvements

The State Collaborative on Reforming Education released the following statement from President and CEO Jamie Woodson regarding the 2014 legislative session in Tennessee and HB1549/SB1835, which passed the General Assembly Thursday: After a year of extensive public and legislative conversation regarding higher academic standards and related strategies to improve student learning, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Nudge By Angel Kilbride

Way above us, high in the heavens, a handsome angel everybody calls Ben yelled to Saint Peter on Thursday and told him, “Better send me a couple of rubies and maybe an amethyst … Dad’s crown just got bigger.” To you such a scenario may sound silly and foolish but Bill Kilbride, a dynamic genius who has just been named as president-elect of Chattanooga’s Chamber of Commerce, knows ... (click for more)