When the legislature first adjourned on May 2nd, those of us promoting transportation improvements hoped that the nightmare was over. On top of the $400+ million in highway fund diversions already approved, the Governor gave notice that he was going to divert an additional $185 million for FY 2016 and 2017, essentially taking all dedicated sales tax money now going to the highway fund to use to balance the state budget. When you add it all up, the highway fund diversion for FY 2016 is now right at $506 million and $515 million for FY 2017.
I think it is safe to say that there is widespread public dismay at the overall management of the state budget process. Moreover, now that the administration no longer says that T-WORKS will be completed, it is important for those of us that see transportation improvements as essential to economic growth to continue to push back. All is not lost!
Under current law, sales tax will continue to flow to the highway fund in FY 2018. As a result, the transportation funding issue will remain in the legislative arena. The future of transportation policy generally and T-WORKS specifically is still front and center. With all 165 legislative seats up for election, now is the time to engage candidates on transportation policy and encourage their support. With that in mind, we have developed the enclosed fact sheet that will be shared with all 2016 legislative candidates.
Finally, I want all of you to know how pleased I am to be able to continue my work for Economic Lifelines. I also want you to know that one of my goals during the balance of the year is to visit each of our members personally at their workplace. I will be contacting each of you to schedule my visit but may be available to attend events you may have where my presence may add value. Just let me know.
Together with my colleagues at Capital Strategies and Strategic Communications, we look forward to continuing our work on your behalf. If you are ever in need of additional information or have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chief Executive Officer