News & Media
Vol. 5, No. 2February 21, 2007
In This Issue …
- No More Passenger Ferries for Kitsap County
- President Releases 2008 Budget Request for Transportation
- Congress Holds the First Transportation Hearing of 2007
- Winter Park City Residents to Decide on 2 Transit Measures
- Register Now for the 2007 Transit Initiatives Conference
No More Passenger Ferries for Kitsap County
VOTERS REJECT SALES TAX INCREASE
Earlier this month Kitsap County voters rejected a measure that would have increased the sales tax to support a passenger only ferry service. Kitsap Transit asked county voters to raise their local sales taxes from 8.6 percent to 8.9 percent to pay for ferries from Bremerton, Kingston, Port Orchard and Southworth to downtown Seattle. The measure would have upped the tax by three-tenths of a cent, or an estimated $59 a year for a typical Kitsap County household, according to the state Department of Revenue. The measure was defeated with 54% of the voters rejecting it. Sixty-two percent of voters rejected a similar proposal in November 2003.
The issue of passenger ferries became critical four years ago when the state Legislature said it was getting out of the foot-ferry business. A private company, Aqua Express, offered passenger-ferry service from Kingston to downtown Seattle until October 2005, when low ridership and high fuel costs prompted it to abandon the route. According to the Kitsap Transit Agency, this defeat will likely spell the end of passenger service between Bremerton and Seattle. He said a passenger service now making two round-trips on weekdays will likely stop by the end of the month
For more 2007 election results
President Releases 2008 Budget Request for Transportation
FAILS TO FUND TRANSIT PROGRAMS TO PROMISED LEVELS
The 2008 DOT proposal fully funds highways and safety programs, but fails to fully fund transit programs to levels promised in the last surface-transportation reauthorization bill.
The president’s fiscal 2008 budget proposal requests $9.42 billion for the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), down $430 million (4.4 percent) from the $9.85 billion provided by Congress in fiscal 2006. The fiscal 2008 proposal is up $523 million from the president’s fiscal 2007 request for $8.900 billion in funding for the FTA, but the proposed fiscal 2008 funding is $309 million less than the level authorized by SAFETEA-LU, the nation’s surface transportation act. Most of that cut would come from the New Starts program, which would drop from $1.7 billion to $1.4 billion The President's budget proposal also falls $300 million short in investments in new rail and fixed guideway transit projects that are authorized under SAFETEA-LU.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) request $40.3 billion in budgetary resources for FY08. This is $300 million more than the 2007 fiscal year's budget. However the budget eliminates $842 million in Revenue Aligned Budget Authority, known as RABA, an annual calculation based on motor fuel tax receipts. This is a provision that ensures that transportation funding follows actual revenue from gas taxes and vehicle taxes. If more revenue than originally predicted is received the RABA adjustment adds money to the baseline funding levels set in SAFETEA-LU.
To view the full FY08 Department of Transportation Budget Request
Congress Holds the First Transportation Hearing of 2007
THE FUTURE CHALLENGES OF THE NATION'S TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM
Earlier this month the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit held its first hearing in the 110th Congress. The hearing, which was presided over by the Subcommittee’s new Chairman, Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., focused on the future challenges for the nation’s surface transportation system. In his opening statement DeFazio remarked “You should expect this subcommittee to be very active over the next two years as we conduct oversight on the implementation of the last highway and transit reauthorization, SAFETEA-LU, and prepare to meet the many challenges we will face in crafting the next reauthorization.”
The highlight of this hearing was testimony by members of the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission which was created in SAFETEA-LU. Congress expects the Commission to describe and analyze a surface transportation system that can support our economy 50 years in the future. Such an analysis will enable lawmakers to establish long-term goals regarding the transformation of our surface transportation system, and to move beyond simply making changes at the margins to the existing system. It will also help Congress formulate short-, medium-, and long-term strategies necessary to achieve these goals, as well as mechanisms to finance such investments.
For more transportation news.
Winter Park City Residents to Decide on 2 Transit Measures
ONE PIECE OF A REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION PLAN IN CENTRAL FLORIDA
Winter Park – In early February, Winter Park city commissioners voted to put two related transit measures on the March 13 ballot. The two questions will ask voters whether they want a commuter-rail stop built on city-owned property, and whether it should be built with city funds. The commission decided to drop a third question about whether city funds should be used for maintenance costs. A commuter-rail stop could be built on right of way without city money, and Orange County could maintain such a stop.
The proposed commuter rail stop is just one piece of a regional transportation plan in Central Florida. Residents of Central Florida realize that there is already a congestion problems and the region is continuing to grow at a staggering pace. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), in cooperation with local government officials in Orange, Seminole, Volusia and Osceola counties and the federal government, is looking at a commuter rail transit project to run along a 61-mile stretch of existing rail freight tracks in the four-county area which includes the stop in Winter Park , Florida.
For more information on 2007 transportation ballot measures.
Register Now for the 2007 Transit Initiatives Conference
REGISTER ONLINE NOW!
Austin, Texas – June 10-12, 2007
Downtown Austin Marriott Courtyard