Transportation Committee Update

Staff Contact: Johnny Evers
November 23, 2016

Transportation Update

State DOT Funding: The 2016 Legislative session witnessed an increase in state spending on Department of Transportation infrastructure projects. The new DOT/MTA spending levels narrow the so-called “parity” gap between the two programs. The overall funding levels, the breakdowns between Capital Program areas, and other related issues can be found in the AGC memo presented at the November 17th New York State Construction Industry Council – The Business Council’s committee dedicated to construction issues. New York State DOT also presented a general summation of issues related to DOT funding at that meeting. One of the key Transportation/Construction issues for the upcoming 2017 Legislative Session will be the issue of state transportation spending and parity.

Railroads: This session the Legislature passed - at the Governor’s request - a bill (S. 8119/ A.10714) impacting our State’s railroads. Specifically, the bill would grant certain powers to state officials previously vested in the Federal Railroad Administration. The Business Council issued a memo in opposition to this bill and worked with our railroad members urge its defeat. The bill passed in the wanning hours of the session and is currently awaiting signature in the Governor’s office.

Rideshare: The 2016 Legislature failed to pass legislation The Business Council championed on “ride sharing” (S.4444-C and S.4280-A). The legislation would establish, regulate and authorize the issuance of automobile insurance policies to transportation network companies and drivers on a group basis. The use of transportation network companies has many benefits to consumers and the economy as a whole. Ridesharing and other “collaborative consumption” innovations allows individuals in our communities to get around conveniently and affordably, expanding independence for the elderly.  It is a viable option especially in communities where public transport is not available. This issue will again be one of our 2017 priorities.

Trucking Taxes: One issue that we hope to address in 2017 is that of the Highway Use Tax. This arcane tax impacts trucking on in-state roads. Most states have eliminated the tax. Efforts have been made in the past to eliminate the tax and/or offer alternatives to this tax based on industry input.

2017 Draft Legislative Program: Since The Business Council has recently split its Infrastructure Committee into the Construction Council and Transportation Committee, thus establishing separate standing committees for each industry area, we must redraft the Transportation Legislative Program. In addition to continuing DOT parity, establishing ride sharing, and elimination the HUT tax, I am including the following DRAFT agenda from the 2016 Infrastructure Legislative Agenda. Please send me any suggestions. Your input will be collected and the full Government Affairs Council (GAC) will be discussing The Business Council’s 2017 Legislative Program on December 1st.