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Wisconsin Aviation Week is July 28-August 3
Governor Scott Walker has proclaimed July 28 – August 3 as Wisconsin Aviation Week. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) and the Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin (TDA) are teaming up to promote, educate and celebrate the state’s aviation industry.
“Wisconsin’s airport system plays a key role in the state’s transportation network,” said Department of Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb. “It meets business, passenger, freight and recreational air transportation needs all around the state while enhancing the economic vitality of Wisconsin’s communities.”
In 2013, 4.4 million people boarded commercial flights in Wisconsin. In addition, more than 118 million pounds of cargo were transported by air last year.
Aviation Week coincides with EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh – the “World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration”. More than half a million people from more than 60 countries attend the seven-day event at Wittman Regional Airport – celebrating the past, present and future in the world of flight.
Wisconsin Aviation Links
Update from the Road
With 104 days remaining before the November 4th election, TDA and members of the Vote YES For Transportation coalition continue to work many different avenues to get our message out.
This odyssey began in earnest back in 2009 when TDA and others formed the Finding Forward coalition to advocate for a constitutional amendment to protect the transportation fund.
Next, we worked with counties across the state to place an advisory referenda question on the fall of 2010 ballots asking voters if they would support amending the constitution to protect the segregated transportation fund. After an overwhelmingly positive response from the voters, we moved on to the legislature.
Our state elected officials responded to their constituents by passing first consideration of a constitutional amendment on a true bipartisan vote in both the state Assembly and Senate in the 2011-12 session. Finally (well not quite), the Assembly and Senate once again came together to pass second consideration of the amendment in this past 2013-14 session, putting the item before the voters.
Now with the question placed on the November ballot, the Finding Forward coalition morphed into Vote YES For Transportation and is working to ensure as high of a YES vote as possible.
Take a moment and go to www.VoteYesforTransportation.com to check out all of the latest.
Because we feel we are in a strong position with the public, we are conducting more of a grassroots campaign than many constitutional amendment efforts in the past. You will not see any statewide TV commercials during the rest of the summer or fall. But we have been out to talk to chambers of commerce and Rotary clubs and regional planning groups from Green Bay to Eau Claire and Kenosha to Hayward.
We are also working through the nearly 50 different associations that are members of Vote YES to provide communications to their members and employees.
Beginning in September, you will start to hear radio ads across the state. When browsing the internet, you may very well come across one of our web ads. And if you live in one of the major markets in Wisconsin, you will see some outdoor advertising in the weeks leading up to the election.
We even have bumper stickers available for those that feel especially passionate about getting the word out. Don't worry these are the removable kind, so there is no long-term commitment. If you want one, just go to the website and submit your contact information, and we will mail you one. If you would like more for your employees or coworkers, just send Debby Jackson an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and she will get you as many as you need.
The response from groups we have visited has been tremendous. I believe that we are simply giving Wisconsin voters what they have already asked us for – the chance to ensure their transportation user fees will in fact go into maintaining and upgrading our transportation system.
If you have any suggestions for groups with which to meet or other thoughts, please don’t hesitate to contact us at the office. Thanks again for all of your support. And remember tell your friends and neighbors to Vote YES for Transportation on November 4th.
House Passes HTF Fix
The House passed a $10.8 billion bill to fund and extend authorization of surface transportation programs through May of next year.
This short-term fix for the looming Highway Trust Fund shortfall would be funded by pension smoothing, a customs duty extension and a transfer from the LUST (Leaking Underground Storage Tank) Trust Fund.
Meanwhile, the Senate Finance Committee passed its own short-term HTF fix. The measure would provide the same amount of new funds for the HTF but from slightly different revenues sources.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has sent out a “hotlining” request – a notice to all 100 Senators that he intended to offer a unanimous consent request related to the Senate’s consideration of the House bill – with the goal of acting on the bill this week.
It is expected that the Senate will vote on a limited number of amendments to the bill. Included in the group will likely be an amendment to replace the House “pay fors” with the package that passed the Senate Finance Committee and an amendment to reduce the size of the funding package and shorten the extension from May 31 of next year to mid-December. Any amendment to the bill would necessitate further action by the House.
With the HTF balance projected to fall below a $4 billion safety balance by the end of the month, it is important Congress pass a short-term Highway Trust Fund fix before Congress adjourns for the five-week August recess.
President Signs Memorandum to Encourage Private Investment in Transportation
The president recently signed a Presidential Memorandum to launch the Build America Investment Initiative, an initiative to increase infrastructure investment by encouraging collaboration, expanding the market for public-private partnerships (PPPs) and putting federal credit programs to greater use.
This initiative is meant to complement a long-term transportation proposal. According to the White House fact sheet on the initiative, “And while the President is encouraged that Congress is heeding these calls by taking action in the short-term to prevent transportation projects across the country from grinding to a halt, the President will continue to act on his own to promote American economic growth where there is need or opportunity. And right now, there is a real opportunity to put private capital to work in revitalizing U.S. infrastructure.”
The initiative includes the following related elements:
- Build America Transportation Investment Center: Housed at the Department of Transportation, this center will serve as a one-stop shop for state and local governments, public and private developers and investors seeking to utilize innovative financing strategies for transportation infrastructure projects.
- Build America Interagency Working Group: To expand and increase private investment and collaboration in infrastructure beyond the transportation sector, a federal inter-agency working group, co-chaired by Cabinet Secretaries Lew and Foxx, will do a focused review with the best and the brightest from the public and private sector.
- Infrastructure Investment Summit: The Treasury Department will host a summit on infrastructure investment on September 9, 2014. This session will focus on innovative financing approaches to infrastructure and highlight other resources that support project development.
Interesting News Coverage
Channel3000.com, July 16, 2014 – “State takes steps toward purchasing 70-mile rail line”
The Hill.com, July 17,2014 – “Jon Stewart tackles highway funding fight”
Indiana Business Journal, July 9, 2014 – “Panel recommends highway projects, indexed gas tax”
ThinkProgress.org, July 8, 2014 – “Cars are getting greener. Here’s a high tech alternative to the gas tax.”
New York Times, July 7, 2014 – “Coalition prods Congress on transportation fund”
Freight Industry Summit
Sponsored by WisDOT and TDA, the annual summit gathers public and private officials with a common interest in our economically vital freight industry.
Make your reservation soon to ensure your place at the table for this important event. Priority registration is available through July 31, 2014 at a fee of $45. As of August 1, the registration fee will be $70.
Save these Dates
- 2014 Wisconsin Commercial Ports Association Annual Meeting & Conference: August 21-22 in Green Bay
- 8th Annual Wisconsin Freight Rail Day: Tuesday, October 7 at the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel in Appleton.
- WisDOT Freight Railroad Conference: Wednesday, November 12th at the Crowne Plaza in Madison
- TDA Annual Meeting: Wednesday, November 19th
- TDA Fly-in: March 25-26, 2015
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