Transportation Thursdays

NOTE: NARC newsletters are typically uploaded to the website on the Friday of the week they were sent out.


April 20, 2017

Congress is on recess and will return to work on April 24. The current continuing resolution, which provides funding for much of the government, expires on April 28.

House to Take Up Senate Bill to Repeal MPO Coordination Rule
We received word today that the House will consider S. 496 under suspension of the rules on Tuesday. This is great news for at least two very important reasons: first, by taking up the Senate version (instead of the House version that was marked up in T&I), the bill will go straight to the president for his signature once the House passes it; and second, doing it under suspension of the rules indicates that leadership believes it will be non-controversial and pass easily. Bills considered under suspension cannot be amended on the floor, but do require 2/3 support. Debate on Tuesday will be limited to 40 minutes under House rules.

Budget Committee Urged to Stabilize Trust Fund
A coalition of 34 businesses and industry groups advised Senate budget leaders to fix the Highway Trust Fund in the 2018 budget. The April 7th letter calls for a long-term solution to stabilize and grow surface transportation funds and warned against another one-time trust fund infusion. The letter also mentions tax reform and states that infrastructure should be a key piece of any tax reform package. The 34 organization group includes the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, American Public Works Association, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

FTA Provides New Resources on Performance-Based Planning
To assist with the transition to performance based planning, FTA held a series of webinars, peer exchanges, and other outreach activities. Based on feedback from stakeholders during these exchanges, FTA developed a series of webpages with FAQs, timeframes, summary reports of peer exchanges, a fact sheet, and a summary of the new requirements.

Trump Supports Dem Buy America Bill
Earlier this week President Trump expressed support for a bill that would increase requirements to buy American. The bill, sponsored by Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), would require American iron or steel for certain drinking-water projects. A similar provision was in the waterways bill last year, but was removed by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI). Trump said, “I agree with her 100 percent” when asked about the bill after signing his Buy American, Hire American executive order.

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MWCOG Celebrates 60th Anniversary
The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) is celebrating its 60thAnniversary throughout the month of April. On April 11, 1957 more than forty public officials from across the D.C. region met to discuss regional collaboration and created the Washington Metropolitan Regional Conference, now known as MWCOG. Join their celebration on Twitter at #COG60th to learn about their current work, future goals, and past accomplishments.

Connecticut and Vermont Leave East Coast Mileage Tax Study
A pilot study for a mileage-based user fee program is down to just two states after three of the original five dropped out. The study has $2.3 million from FHWA and will track mileage of fifty drivers in both Delaware and Pennsylvania for three months through pen and paper, an app, or a GPS device. Connecticut withdrew because of opposition in the General Assembly to a vehicle mileage tax. Vermont has also dropped out and New Hampshire has indicated they are going to follow suit. Several western states are currently testing mileage-based fee programs, including California, Hawaii, Washington, and Oregon.

NLC’s Autonomous Vehicles: A Policy Preparation Guide
The National League of Cities (NLC) released a policy report on autonomous vehicles that encourages cities to start planning for the new technology. The guide addresses frequently asked questions and offers four recommendations, including working with your state and federal governments to make sure cities voices are heard.

SLOCOG Funds $350,000 in Safe Routes to School Infrastructure Improvements
On April 5, the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments (SLOCOG) approved $350,000 in discretionary funding as part of its Active Transportation Partnership Plan’s Short Term Investment Strategy. Regional State Highway Account funds were awarded to member jurisdictions for Safe Routes to School (SRTS) infrastructure improvements. In San Luis Obispo (SLO) County, there are ten school districts with 74 schools educating nearly 23,000 elementary and middle school students. Each of these students interact with the transportation system every day. SLOCOG’s 2014 Regional Transportation Plan emphasizes the importance of SRTS programs that aim to increase the safety and convenience of walking and cycling to school.

The SLO Regional Rideshare program provides safe walking and cycling education and encouragement for schools around the county through its non-infrastructure program. Additionally, SLOCOG’s programming staff maintains a SRTS Prioritization Tool, a quantitative decision-making tool that ranks schools on their need for SRTS capital investments, and works with member jurisdictions to fund projects.

View full list of jobs!

Assistant Planner
Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, Chicago, IL

Director of Planning
Southern California Association of Governments, Los Angeles, CA

Senior Budget Program Analyst
San Diego Association of Governments, San Diego, CA

Bexar Area Agency on Aging Benefits Counselor
Alamo Area Council of Governments, San Antonio, TX

Transportation Planner
Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments, Kelso, WA

Web Specialist II
Maricopa Association of Governments, Phoenix, AZ

View full list of grants and events!

FHWA VisionEval Pooled Fund
FHWA began efforts to initiate a pooled fund project to support VisionEval outreach, development, technical maintenance, and tool upgrades. Partners in the project will guide the direction of future tool development and participate in forums to share best practices in customizing the applications and applying strategic planning tools to their local conditions. The pooled fund will be maintained and governed by a community of agency sponsors, active users, and developers. For full partner benefits, MPOs are required to commit to three years of funding at $15,000/year, with potential discounts for in-kind contributions.

ATCMTD Program Solicitation Webinar
April 25, 1:00 – 3:00 PM ET
This webinar will provide information and accept questions regarding the advanced transportation and congestion management technologies deployment (ATCMTD) program established by the FAST Act.  The currently available Notice of Funding Opportunity is the second of annual solicitations for the ATCMTD program seeking applications from eligible entities to develop model deployment sites for large scale installation and operation of advanced transportation technologies to improve safety, efficiency, system performance, and infrastructure return on investment. USDOT intends for these model technology deployments to help demonstrate how emerging transportation technologies, data, and their applications, which also link to Beyond Traffic 2045, can be effectively deployed and integrated with existing systems to provide access to essential services and other destinations.

FHWA’s Energy and Emissions Reduction Policy Analysis Tool
April 26, 1:00 – 3:00 PM ET
This webinar will introduce FHWA’s Energy and Emissions Reduction Policy Analysis Tool, which is an integrated, state-level modeling system designed specifically to evaluate strategies for reducing transportation energy consumption and emissions.

Surface Transportation Systems Funding Alternatives Program Webinar
April 28, 1:00 – 3:00 PM ET
This webinar will provide information and accept questions regarding the surface transportation systems funding alternatives (STSFA) program established by the FAST Act.  The currently available Notice of Funding Opportunity is the second solicitation for the STSFA program seeking applications from eligible entities to provide grants to states to demonstrate user based alternative revenue mechanisms that utilize a user fee structure to maintain the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund. USDOT intends for these demonstrations to test the design, implementation, and acceptance of functional future user-based alternative revenue mechanisms that minimize administrative costs, increase public awareness of the need for alternative funding sources for surface transportation programs, and provide recommendations on various approaches.

Innovative Mobility Webinar: Life-Cycle Analysis in Transportation Project Planning
April 28, 3:00 – 4:00 PM ET
Increasingly, transportation projects are not just about transportation. They are also proposed to meet environmental goals and, in the case of California’s SB 375, are tied to the state’s environmental targets explicitly. Despite this evolving focus, the process of evaluating these projects’ environmental impacts and benefits is little changed, and typically involves only the legally-required, time-limited, threshold-based analysis that addresses the significance of impacts associated with an already-selected project. This session introduces life-cycle analysis (LCA) as an innovative tool for more thoroughly evaluating the full “cradle-to-grave” benefits, impacts, and tradeoffs of and among transportation project alternatives.

Infrastructure Week
May 15-19
Infrastructure Week is a national week of education and advocacy to draw attention to the importance of infrastructure to our nation’s economy, jobs, communities, and future. There are events all week in Washington, DC and across the country highlighting different aspects of infrastructure from autonomous vehicles to broadband. Your community can also plan its own event with help from an online toolkit.

Call for Abstracts! Applying Census Data for Transportation Conference
Abstracts due: May 25 (no more than 400 words)
Conference dates: November 14-16, Kansas City, MO
This conference will focus on the use of census data for transportation applications by exploring the results of current research, sharing experiences of practitioners who are using census data, and defining potential strategies for practical improvements in data use for current and emerging data needs. There is an electronic submittal form at Direct all questions to Mai Le at 202-334-2827 or As part of the conference there is also a student paper competition. Two winning papers will receive up to $1,000 in travel and registration reimbursement.

NARC RFI! NARC Seeks Cooperative Procurement Partner for AFVs in the Private Sector
Submission Deadline: June 2
The purpose of this Request for Information (RFI) is to facilitate a process to gauge interest from trade associations or other agencies that have a national membership base or the capacity to reach a national target audience to create a cooperative procurement program that includes alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs). The target audience is private sector fleets, or the commercial market. TheFleets for the Future (F4F) project, led by NARC, currently includes a national-scale public sector procurement initiative for AFVs along with fleet services, parts, and equipment.

Registration Open! 51st Annual Conference & Exhibition
June 4-7 – Monterey, CA
Join NARC and the California Association of Councils of Governments for NARC’s 51st Annual Conference and Exhibition, which focuses on promoting effective regional cooperation and solutions through interaction and education.

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