Federal funding formulas for waterways.
- Support changes to federal funding formulas and procedures for waterway projects to ensure that cost-to-benefit ratios consider secondary benefits on a regional and national scale and prioritization of projects includes input from other federal agencies including Department of Transportation, Department of Commerce and the Department of Energy.
- Support changes to the criteria for allocation of local match dollars to waterway improvement projects that reasonably reflect the financial capacity of local sponsors and the anticipated economic, defense, homeland security and energy security benefits of the project both within and beyond local jurisdictions.
- Support authorization for Texas waterway and channel projects for which the study and review process has been completed and are now pending before Congress.
Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund. Support the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund and legislation that will ensure the fund is used for the intended purpose of maintenance of Texas’ federal waterways and channels and not diverted to other uses in the federal budget.
- Support mechanisms that return the maximum amount of revenues to the states both equitably and with the greatest degree of flexibility in state and local control over transportation priorities, planning and implementation. Recognizing that the purchasing power of the federal fuels tax has declined, we support maintaining federal transportation funding with new revenues as required, but only if disparities in allocation of revenues to the states are ended.
- Support federal transportation programs and initiatives that provide states the ability to pursue multi-modal solutions to transportation needs including highways, rail, air and marine commerce based on each state’s priority needs.
- Support reauthorization of federal transportation programs that are focused on maintaining current levels of funding while maintaining or even improving the authority of state and local transportation entities in prioritizing essential road construction and related infrastructure critical to economic opportunity and streamlining the process of project planning and approval.
- Support a comprehensive, multi-year reauthorization of federal transportation programs that will maintain federal highway funding levels without inequitably increasing tax burdens on businesses and create greater certainty for state and local planners, development companies and businesses investing in capital projects.
- Support an increase in the federal motor fuel tax of $.12 per gallon as an alternative to deficit financing in order to ensure maintenance of current spending levels, and condition any tax increase on dedication of new revenues to road projects and ending any disparities in allocation of federal transportation funds to the states.
- Support increased flexibility in local and state options for transportation project prioritization and implementation and reduced federal mandates such as requirements for investment in bicycle lanes, alternative fuel infrastructure and parks and recreational facilities.
- Oppose efforts to expand the role of federal agencies such as the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) or Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in local projects, and oppose the expansion of federal agencies’ jurisdiction by redefining the federal highway system to include existing roads or redefining navigable waters under the Clean Water Act, including the Waters of the U.S. rule.
- Support an increase in the national Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan allocation in order to encourage and expedite private sector involvement in improving our highway systems by authorizing the use of such funds on a broader range of road projects, including those that may currently be ineligible because they are not “on system” roads.
- Oppose federal funding allocations that result in Texas subsidizing public transportation or mass transit projects in other states.
- Support efforts to expand the use of public-private partnerships in transportation planning and funding, and oppose measures that would penalize states for leveraging private investment in transportation projects.
- Support continued improvement and streamlining of the federal environmental review of transportation projects commensurate with documented need for review and degree of federal financial support.
- Oppose efforts to reduce the viability and role for small metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) in the support and design of local projects.
- Support efforts to ensure that Texas is among those states that are eligible to regulate weight limits on highways that are part of the interstate highway system or that are added to the interstate highway system.
U.S. Army Corp. of Engineer studies. Support funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers studies of waterway improvements that are needed to keep pace with global demands for shipping and prepare Texas waterways, ports and terminals for the impact of the ongoing improvements to the Panama Canal and the anticipated increase in size and number of vessels entering Texas waters. Also, support funding for restoration of the Gulf Intercoastal Waterway in Texas to its design depth of 12 feet to support increased, cost-effective barge traffic.