Briefing by the Governor's Blue Ribbon Panel
COMMITTEE ON JOINT TRANSPORTATION
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03:18 PM -- Briefing by the Governor's Blue Ribbon Panel on Transportation Finance and Implementation
Mr. Mark Mehalko, representing the Governor's Blue Ribbon Panel on Transportation Finance and Implementation (Blue Ribbon Panel) described the history of the panel and its mission. Mr. Mehalko explained current funding shortfalls, federal funding, and existing infrastructure challenges. He also stated that while a federal stimulus would be welcome, it is not a lasting solution to transportation financing problems. Copies of slide handouts were distributed to the committee members (Attachment C).
03:23 PM -- Mr. Doug Aden, representing the Blue Ribbon Panel, discussed guiding principles followed by the panel. Mr. Aden also discussed revenue options examined by the Blue Ribbon Panel, such as public private partnerships, congestion pricing, tolling, and various user fees.
03:33 PM -- Treasurer Cary Kennedy, representing the Blue Ribbon Panel, discussed current legislative proposals related to transportation financing. Treasurer Kennedy stated that the FASTER proposal issued by the Governor is a useful measure to incorporate private and public partnerships and support alternative modes on congested corridors. However, the FASTER proposal does not go as far as the Blue Ribbon Panel recommendations. Treasurer Kennedy stated that FASTER is a needed step.
03:38 PM -- Representative McNulty stated his agreement that a new paradigm of transportation funding is needed. Representative McNulty asked questions of user-based financing for transportation. Treasurer Kennedy responded that a user-pays system of financing for roads has been the historical pattern for transportation financing. Representative McNulty discussed the importance of transportation infrastructure, stating its priority is among that of education, public safety, and higher education. Representative McNulty further stated that the benefits of transportation networks are universally beneficial and, thus, should be supported broadly and alongside other high priorities.
03:45 PM -- Representative Fischer asked for further elaboration on the five Blue Ribbon Panel recommendations. Treasurer Kennedy explained each of the panel recommendations.
03:50 PM -- Representative King asked if the Blue Ribbon Panel prioritized any user fees as more effective than others. Mr. Aden and Treasurer Kennedy responded to the question, stating that an extensive list of potential fees were examined and all information is contained in the Blue Ribbon Panel report.
03:52 PM -- Senator Romer expressed that he was aware that general fund dollars may support transportation funding. Senator Romer further stated his support for measures that stimulate job growth and economic development. He further stated his support for innovative approaches such as public private partnerships to improve transportation infrastructure. Representative McNulty expressed his agreement and view that the state has more untapped options before charging user fees.
03:57 PM -- The committee adjourned.