ACB FrameworkChange Forces • Legislation, Regulation, and Funding

Legislation, Regulation, and Funding

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New regulations, funding instability and uncertainty, new funding arrangements, devolution, short term view

Federal and state legislation and regulations have been and will continue to be significant change forces for DOTs, impacting funding levels, eligibility and flexibility; available financing methods; and planning, project development, and reporting requirements. The most recent federal transportation authorization legislation (MAP-21/FAST) included new requirements for performance management and development of transportation asset management plans. Many DOTs are also responding to state legislative requirements for performance measures and data-driven decision making. The long term federal transportation funding gap has yet to be addressed and legislation may or may not allow DOTs to use various types of creative funding arrangements. The funding instability transportation agencies face affects their ability to plan for the future. Hiring freezes and fewer government positions available are also a consequence of funding stability.

The federal role may be shifting, with state level legislation gaining importance. But regardless of this shift some DOTs are facing a tension between the short term view of legislative bodies and the longer term view necessary for DOTs to plan for the future. In addition, some DOTs face short time windows to respond to new legislative requirements, which places pressure on available staff resources. This reality, combined with the continued layering of regulatory initiatives and process changes, create a challenging environment for DOTs.