States raising taxes, fees and debt to pay for road repairs

From the St. Louis Post Dispatch

While Congress remains stalled on a long-term plan for funding highways, state lawmakers and governors aren’t waiting around.

Nearly one-third of the states have approved measures this year that could collectively raise billions of dollars through higher fuel taxes, vehicle fees and bonds to repair old bridges and roads and relieve traffic congestion, according to an analysis by The Associated Press.

The surge of activity means at least half of the states — in Republican and Democratic areas — now have passed transportation funding measures since 2013.

And the movement may not be done.

Tennessee’s governor is in the midst of a 15-city tour highlighting the state’s transportation needs. North Carolina lawmakers are debating a road-bonding proposal. And legislators are returning to work this week in California and Michigan with transportation funding on the agenda.

“I don’t know of a state that’s not having the conversation” about raising revenue for transportation, said Iowa Transportation Director Paul Trombino III, who is vice president of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and whose home state recently raised fuel taxes by 10 cents a gallon.

The widespread focus on transportation funding comes as state officials are becoming frustrated by federal inaction in helping to repair roads and bridges described as crumbling, aging and unsafe.

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