- As of Jan. 31, 25 state legislatures had introduced 61 transportation funding measures this year, one of which had been approved and signed into law, according to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association.
- Nearly 30% of the proposed bills are for one-time funding. Bond issues for state department of transportation funding have become an increasing source of revenue for highway projects, as toll fees accounted for less of the funding pie since 2000, according to the BATIC Institute.
- The one approved bill was in Massachusetts, where a $16.5 billion bond will inject funding into infrastructure projects. Minnesota has proposed the highest number of bills so far this year at 19.
An influx of infrastructure bills is common after an election year, but for the first month of 2021, 61 pieces of legislation is a little lower than expected, said Carolyn Kramer, director of ARTBA’s Transportation Investment Advocacy Center. She said the difference could be attributed to states still wrestling with the economic impact of the pandemic. Additionally, states are awaiting federal action from Congress and President Joe Biden on new federal infrastructure funding.
Nevertheless, there has been an uptick in state legislative efforts in February, Kramer said, as state lawmakers work through their plans without assigning bills numbers or presenting them to chambers yet.
Even then, it’s impossible to know exactly how many bills will pass and how they will change before they do, she said.
The sole state bill passed in January, a $16.5 billion bond to fund transportation infrastructure in Massachusetts, will provide that state a much-needed injection of capital, Kramer said. It’s still important to note, however, that larger bills are more likely to be doled out over long periods and much will go to areas outside of infrastructure construction, such as highway safety and patrols. Most bills, Kramer said, include less funding — somewhere in the $100 million range — for specific transportation projects.
States with bills introduced in January include:
- 19 in Minnesota.
- 7 in Missouri.
- 3 in Connecticut, Virginia and Washington.
- 2 in Arizona, Nebraska, Utah and Wyoming.
- 1 in Arkansas, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, South Carolina, Texas and Vermont.