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.

 



TWH Architects' Eric Huffstetler Earns Architect License

TWH Architects’ Eric Huffstetler has earned his architect license. After 18 months, Mr. Huffstetler passed the Architecture Registration Examination consisting of five total exams – all of which he passed on first attempt – to receive his Architect Registration for the State of Tennessee.  Originally from Knoxville, Mr. Huffstetler attend the University of Tennessee at Knoxville ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Data Center Kicks Off IT Business Connection Series

Chattanooga’s newest data center, DC BLOX, held its first IT business connection event last week. This event launched the first of several planned events designed to bring area IT professionals together with major technology companies. In collaboration with Comcast and Ciena, DC BLOX hosted regional IT professionals at their site. The company provided tours of their new data center ... (click for more)

Clerk Shot During Holdup At Lee Highway Convenience Store Early Saturday Morning

A clerk was shot during a holdup at a convenience store on Lee Highway early Saturday morning. Paul Evans, 24, has non-life threatening injuries. At approximately  12:56 a.m.  Chattanooga Police responded to a person shot call at the Mapco at 6200 Lee Highway.   Upon arrival, Chattanooga Police officers located the victim. He told police that a man armed ... (click for more)

Woman Shot Twice By Estranged Boyfriend In Front Of Multiple People At Her Home In Dalton

A woman's estranged boyfriend entered her residence in Dalton on Friday night and shot her twice in front of a group of people, authorities said. Heather Renee Griffin, 42, was transported to Hamilton Medical Center and later transferred to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga. Police are searching for Bertram Gerome Beck in the incident. At 7:35 p.m., the Whitfield County ... (click for more)

All I Want For Christmas Are Digitized Newspapers For 2018

With recent news of the Public Library investing in their own StoryCorps-ish effort with the Chattanooga Memory Project, it got me thinking about digitizing local newspapers again.   It's been two and a half years since the Chattanooga Public Library committed to sending out a request for proposals to digitize the local newspapers they have on microfilm. Back in ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Last You’d Suspect

Back when Bill Lenz launched Christ the Rock Community Church, the idea was to spread the gospel in Menasha, Wisc. but Bill and his brother Bob soon found they were dealing with people in trauma situations – drug and alcohol addiction, poverty, the homeless, and suicide prevention. As the church grew, they started an offshoot ministry called “Solid Rock” that deals with suicide ... (click for more)