July 24, 2015, Number 29
Download the July 24, 2014 Number 29 (PDF) update.
U.S. Senate Begins Debate on Transportation Funding
The U.S. Senate has begun debating a long-term transportation bill that would authorize funding for the next six years. Senators Roger Wicker (R - Mississippi) and Cory Booker (D - New Jersey) have introduced a bipartisan amendment to the bill that would direct billions of dollars in additional transportation resources to local decision makers.
The amendment would increase the total funding available for the Surface Transportation Program (STP), and it would increase the funds distributed directly to local areas. The amendment would also require states that do not currently direct STP funds to areas with populations under 200,000 to allow those areas an opportunity to submit projects for funding consideration.
Local governments own and operate 78% of the nation’s road miles, 43% of all federal-aid highway miles, half of all bridges, and a majority of transit systems. The message is that locals need more direct transportation funding to maintain and improve those systems, on which their residents and economies depend.
The National League of Cities is working with senators to make the transportation bill as beneficial as possible for cities. Texas city officials should reach out to Senators Cornyn and Cruz to ask them to support the Wicker-Booker amendment for local control over STP funds.
The TML Constitution states that resolutions for consideration at the Annual Conference must be submitted to the TML headquarters 45 calendar days prior to the first day of the Annual Conference. For 2015, this provision means that resolutions from any member city, TML region, or TML affiliate must arrive at the TML headquarters no later than 5 p.m. on August 10, 2015.
The TML Board of Directors has adopted several procedures governing the resolutions process. Please review the following items carefully and thoroughly.
- No resolution may be considered by the TML Resolutions Committee unless it has prior approval of: (a) the governing body of a TML member city; (b) the governing body or membership of a TML affiliate, or (c) the membership of a TML region at a regional meeting.
- TML member cities, regions, and affiliates that wish to submit a resolution must complete a resolution cover sheet. The cover sheet is available (DOC) . Please feel free to make as many copies of this cover sheet as you desire. The cover sheet must be attached to the resolution throughout each step of the resolutions process.
- It is recommended that any resolution state one of four categories to better direct League staff. Those categories are:
- Seek Introduction and Passage means that the League will attempt to find a sponsor, will provide testimony, and will otherwise actively pursue passage. Bills in this category are known as “TML bills.”
- Support means the League will attempt to obtain passage of the initiative if it is introduced by a city or some other entity.
- Take No Position.
- Please see the 2015-2016 TML Legislative Policy Development Process (PDF) for more information.
- Resolutions submitted will be thoroughly discussed at the TML Annual Conference. The Resolutions committee is appointed by the TML President and is made up of city officials from TML member cities across the state.
- The city, region, or affiliate that submits a resolution is encouraged to send a representative to the Resolutions Committee meeting to explain the resolution. The Resolutions Committee will meet at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, September 22, 2015, at the Henry B. Gonzalez Center in San Antonio.
If the procedures described above are not followed for any given resolution, that resolution is likely to be referred to some other TML committee for further study. In that case, the resolution would not be adopted during the 2015 conference.
Under the TML Constitution, resolutions received after the deadline of August 10, 2015, must not only have the attached cover sheet, but also must “state the reason precluding timely submission.” These late resolutions may be considered by the TML Resolutions Committee at the Annual Conference only if two-thirds of the Committee members present and voting agree to suspend the submission rule and consider the resolution.
Resolutions may be submitted by mail, fax, or email to Scott Houston, Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel, at:
1821 Rutherford Lane
Austin, Texas 78754
Email Scott Houston
If you have any questions or would like any assistance, please call 512-231-7400 at any time.
TML member cities may use the material herein for any purpose. No other person or entity may reproduce, duplicate, or distribute any part of this document without the written authorization of the Texas Municipal League.