Transportation Thursdays

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


May 25, 2017

FAA Reauthorization Timeline
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has held several hearings to prepare for reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) later this year. Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) remains committed to privatization of the nation’s air traffic control system, and appears to have the Trump administration’s support this time around. The Senate hopes to mark up a bill in June, but is looking to the House to initiate action. Drones may be an issue in this bill, since the recent federal appeals court decision struck down the registration requirement for recreational drones. FAA funding currently expires September 30, 2017.

2018 Budget: Infrastructure Initiative Fact Sheet
The administration rather quietly released its guiding principles for an infrastructure package as part of its budget release Tuesday. The fact sheet promises to “reevaluate the role for the Federal Government in infrastructure investment” and indicates it will be “exploring whether [the existing federal role] still makes sense.” The document also contains a set of “Key Principles,” including making targeted federal investments for high priority projects, encouraging self-help among states and localities, aligning infrastructure investment with entities best suited to provide sustained and efficient investment, and as expected, leveraging the private sector.

As for funding its proposal, the administration clearly indicates that the $1 trillion will include some new federal funding while the rest would be generated from non-federal funding incentives and steps that help expedite project delivery. The FY2018 budget includes $5 billion for this initiative, with the remainder of the $200 billion proposed investment spread over the next several years. No offset or pay-for is identified. The examples of funding proposals include: restoring TIFIA funding to the MAP-21 level of $1 billion and expanding eligibility (no detail given); lifting the cap on Private Activity Bonds (PABs) and expanding the eligible uses; lifting the restriction to allow states to toll existing Interstate facilities; and exploring innovative approaches to congestion mitigation. The fact sheet also proposes two new federal tools, including a revolving fund for capital investments and changes to existing law, which currently prevents credit assistance from being used to improve federal assets.

Finally, the document includes several changes to the environmental review and federal permitting processes for infrastructure projects, including judicial reform and streamlined environmental and permitting decision-making.

The Freight Intermodal Connectors Study
FHWA has released its report on freight connectors and emerging data and literature on how to assess them. Freight intermodal connectors are roads that provide the “last mile” connection between major intermodal freight facilities (e.g., ports, airports, intermodal rail yards) and the National Highway System (NHS). The report examines existing and future freight and logistics trends as well as the current state of the practice of evaluating freight connector performance. The study is designed to be a resource to state and local partners to inform the freight planning process and freight investment decisions.

Performance Rules Finalized
Two FHWA Final Rules went into effect on May 20 after being delayed by the new administration. They are the Pavement and Bridge Condition Performance Measures Final Rule and the System Performance/Freight/CMAQ Performance Measures Final Rule. However, the greenhouse gas measure has been further delayed indefinitely from the system performance final rule. FHWA will be holding webinars on these rules on May 31 and June 1. More information on the webinars is provided in the opportunities section below.

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NARC’s Infrastructure Week Event:
Preparing for Autonomous Vehicles on Our Roads

To wrap up the 2017 Infrastructure Week, NARC and the National League of Cities (NLC) hosted an event on autonomous vehicles. The speakers discussed workforce issues, equity in technology, safety regulations, big data, and what role the federal government should play in all this. Doug Hooker from the Atlanta Regional Commission emphasized the importance of looking at this issue from a regional level and examining the benefits and drawbacks so we can prepare effectively. In conjunction with the event, NARC Director of Transportation Programs Erich Zimmermann and NLC’s Nicole DuPuis coauthored a blog post about self-driving cars.

To read more about the multitude of events and discussions held during the week, the organizers put together a list of further resources and summaries.

Connected and Automated Vehicles: NCHRP Support for Transportation Agency Leaders
This TRB brochure summarizes the National Cooperative Highway Research Program’s (NCHRP) research in the field and how they are exploring legal and societal impacts on transportation agencies and the public.

View full list of jobs!

Principal Transportation Planner
Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, Philadelphia, PA

RLI No. 17-07: State Advocacy Services
Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization, Fort Lauderdale, FL

RFP No. 17-06: 2045 Long Range Transportation Plan
Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization, Fort Lauderdale, FL

RFP No. 17-05: 2045 Regional Transportation Plan
Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Public Safety Clerk
Alamo Area Council of Governments, San Antonio, TX

Procurement Coordinator
Houston-Galveston Area Council, Houston, TX

Senior Planner/Demographer
Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments, Cincinnati, OH

Modeler III/IV
Wasatch Front Regional Council, Salt Lake City, UT

View full list of grants and events!

Updated Agenda! 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.

Traffic Incident Management – What’s New?
June 7, 1:00 – 2:30 PM ET
Traffic Incident Management (TIM) consists of a planned and coordinated multi-disciplinary approach to detect, respond to, and clear traffic incidents so that traffic flow may be restored as safely and quickly as possible. Effective TIM strategies reduces the duration and impacts of traffic incidents and improves the safety of motorists, crash victims, and emergency responders. Currently, there are new and updated reports, events, and training sessions that contribute to the success of the practice. The webinar covers FHWA’s TIM updates, which include: information about the Traffic Incident Awareness Week, SHRP2 National TIM Responder training and its evaluation, Every Day Counts-4 Using Data to Improve TIM, and other resources.

Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility Webinar: Community Perspectives
June 7, 2:00 – 3:30 PM ET
Join the Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility to hear from three communities about regulatory barriers, funding and finances, and administrative barriers they face related to coordination and vehicle sharing at the state and local level.

Innovative Financing for Public Transportation: Value Capture and Small-and Medium-sized Public Private Partnerships
June 7, 2:00 – 3:30 PM ET
Presenters during this webinar will discuss the best practices of value capture (VC) and public-private partnerships (P3s) in transportation funding. Value capture, the public recovery of a portion of increased property value created from public infrastructure investment, has been successful in several U.S. cities, and the presenters will review these case studies. P3s can also be used by transit agencies to improve existing services as well as deliver new services and facilities, and presenters will demonstrate an interactive tool for identifying, evaluating, and screening opportunities for small- and medium-sized P3 initiatives.

Surface Transportation System Funding Alternative
Applications Due: June 12
The purpose of the Surface Transportation System Funding Alternatives (STSFA) program is 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 Federal Highway Trust Fund. The FAST Act provides that $15 million in FY2016 and $20 million annually from FY2017 through FY2020 will be made available from the Highway Research and Development Program for grants for STSFA demonstration projects. These grants shall make up no more than 50 percent of total proposed project costs, with the remainder coming from non-Federal sources. The grants are only available to states; however, groups of states can form partnerships for regional or national proposals.

Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment Initiative
Applications Due: June 12
Awardees will 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. These model deployments are expected to provide benefits in the form of: reduced traffic-related fatalities and injuries; reduced traffic congestion and improved travel time reliability; reduced transportation-related emissions; optimized multimodal system performance; improved access to transportation alternatives, including for underserved populations; public access to real time integrated traffic, transit, and multimodal transportation information to make informed travel decisions; cost savings to transportation agencies, businesses, and the traveling public; or other benefits to transportation users and the general public. This competitive advanced transportation and congestion management technologies deployment grant program will promote the use of innovative transportation solutions. The deployment of these technologies will provide Congress and USDOT with valuable real life data and feedback to inform future decision making.


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