The MITA legislative team has been busy this week pushing policymakers to act on key issues.
There is about $160 million in airport funding projects tied up in a capitol outlay bill pending in the Legislature. MITA has been very concerned that the delay in approving these federal dollars will mean a loss in this year’s construction season –or even worse– loss of those funds altogether.
The capitol outlay budget has been bouncing back and forth between the Senate and the House in recent weeks. The House version of the bill has hundreds of millions of dollars in other projects, including many university projects. The Senate version has been scaled down to include only the airport money. Although MITA would like to see many of these other infrastructure projects approved, because of the time-sensitive nature of the airport projects, we’ve been lobbying hard to get them approved immediately.
MITA has also been continuing to push for the Materials Deduction on the MBT. Although the Legislature is in agreement that this materials deduction was intended in the original bill, our bill is being tied up in a larger discussion about other reforms that are pending as well. The bill passed the Senate 38-0 and is currently pending in the House Tax Policy Committee. We have lobbied House Democrat leadership hard to get the bill approved before the Legislature goes on summer break.
MITA has continued an aggressive push this week to meet with at least 80 legislators this spring and early summer before the Legislature goes on break to talk to them about our $1 billion plan to increase road funding. We’ve scheduled at least a dozen meetings a week in order to reach our goal. Once the Legislature leaves town for the summer, they are likely only going to be in session another month or so for the remainder of the year due to upcoming elections.