Leg update: Highway Trust Fund still going broke but three-position bike racks bill in good shape

Two pieces of legislative news below from Metro CEO Art Leahy and the agency’s government relations team.

The first is bad news. Due to Congress’ inability to pass a long-range transportation funding bill, the Highway Trust Fund is going broke and states on average could lose 28 percent of federal funding if nothing is done. Blah. If this keeps up, we’ll have more soon on potential impacts to Metro.

In case you’re wondering about a solution: Congress needs to either raise the federal gas tax (it hasn’t been increased in two decades) or find other revenues to keep the Highway Trust Fund in the black.

The second is good news: state legislation that would allow bike racks that could hold three bikes on 40-foot buses is moving along nicely.

The update:

U.S. Department of Transportation Announces Planned Cuts In Highway Trust Fund Payments

As shared in a Legislative Alert yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office is estimating that it will take over $8 billion in additional revenues to keep the federal Highway Trust Fund solvent through December 31, 2014.

Earlier today, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx issued letters to major transportation stakeholders around the nation outlining how the U.S. Department of Transportation anticipates Highway Trust Fund payments will be distributed if Congress does not act to make the fund solvent in the coming weeks.

Secretary Foxx stated that the Federal Highway Administration will begin implementing cash management procedures starting August 1, 2014. No specific date has yet been set to implement cash management procedures for the Mass Transit Account.

States will receive their first notice of available funds on August 11, 2014 and thereafter every two weeks as the federal gas tax receipts are deposited into the Highway Trust Fund.

According to Secretary Foxx, “on average, states will see a 28 percent drop in federal transportation dollars. Depending on how they manage the funds, each state will feel the effects differently, but everyone will feel the impact sooner or later.”

To read the correspondence from Secretary Foxx on the federal Highway Trust Fund please click here. We are currently compiling a document that will be shared with all Board members, that includes an assessment of what a slowdown in federal transportation funds would mean for our agency.
State Legislative Update

AB 2707 (Chau) – Three Position Bike Racks
Yesterday the Assembly approved AB 2707, Metro’s sponsored bill, which would allow three position bike racks to be installed on our 40’ buses, passed the Senate floor unanimously 36 to 0. The bill now heads back to the Assembly floor for concurrence vote.

8 replies

  1. Well there goes the $15-$30 BILLION 710 toll tunnel to nowhere–I mean Alhambra! The PR budget for the tunnel is $30 million alone. It’s best for Metro to stay in the transit business and get out of the freeway business. You know what The Book says: “Ye can’t serve God and evil at the same time.”

  2. The idea of “three bike racks” on a bus is stupid and impedes a bus lines progress
    (I suppose the next step is to have 4, then 5, then 40?). With all the bike lanes that THROUGHOUT L.A. County, there is ZERO EXCUSE for bike riders not to utilize them! if something is “too far” for a bike rider to get to, then let them LEAVE THEIR BIKE AT HOME, AND TAKE THE BUS!

  3. Raising fuel taxes will not do any good when cars keep getting better MPGs every year and more products are coming out where cars don’t even consume any fossil fuels at all.

    Furthermore, Obama and the largest automakers reached an agreement in 2011 to set the standard of fuel economy to be 54.5 MPG by 2025.

    With such fuel efficiency, fuel taxes have no meaning. It’d be better if we got rid of the fuel tax scheme all together and implemented a VMT (vehicle mile tax) instead. Taxing cars based on miles traveled is a more direct to pay for road usage than through fuel consumption which widely varies because every car has a different fuel economy.

  4. Some agencies already have 3-bike racks (Long Beach Transit, Commuter Express). How do they do it? Why does Metro require special legislation?

  5. @atheisticallyyours you routinely post silly questions/hypotheticals that could easily be answered with 5 seconds of google research.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_mile_(transport)

    ^That is why bike racks are needed on buses. The two are complementary, rather than substitutes for one another. For someone who posts so much about bus riders, you should probably do some research on how many low-income residents in this county rely heavily on bikes to solve their first/last mile needs.

  6. Hey atheist, you probably have never seen arguments at a bus stop where an empty bus has two bikes on it already and the driver is telling the 3rd cyclist he has to wait 30 minutes for the next bus from west la the valley. It sucks. I do not understand the need either to legislate this?