The National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission held its first meeting on April 25. This commission, like the National Surface Transportation and Revenue Study Commission, was established in SAFETEA-LU. The financing commission is directed to look at Highway Trust Fund revenue sources, determine what the outlook for these revenue sources is considering changes in vehicles and fuel use, consider whether additional revenue is needed to meet projected needs and consider future alternative revenue sources. SAFETEA-LU also directed this commission to consider the impact of allowing states to opt out of collecting the federal gas tax in return for not receiving all or part of federal transportation funding.
The finance commission is directed to have a report to Congress by April 2009; however, at its organizational meeting last week, commissioners expressed an urgency to have a report finalized long before that so its recommendations can be part of the debate on the next transportation reauthorization bill. It is unclear how the work of this commission and the policy and revenue commission will be integrated. The Policy and Revenue commission will continue its work with hearings this week in Chicago and Minneapolis.
The law directed that 15 commissioners be named by the administration as well as the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee. They are as follows:
• Robert Atkinson: president, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, Washington, D.C., appointed by U.S. DOT secretary;
• Don Carmody: president, Henry County Bank, Mount Pleasant, Iowa, appointed by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa);
• Jeffrey Crowe: chairman, Landstar System Inc., Jacksonville, Fla., appointed by U.S DOT secretary;
• Mark Florian: managing director, Goldman Sachs, New York City, appointed by U.S. DOT secretary;
• Bryan Grote: principal, Mercator Advisors LLC, Philadelphia, appointed by Grassley;
• Bill Kennedy: commissioner, Yellowstone County, Billings, Mont., appointed by Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.);
• Hon. Mike Krusee: representative in the Texas House of Representatives, Austin, Texas, appointed by U.S. DOT secretary;
• Craig Lentzsch: chairman and chief executive, CUSA LLC., Dallas, appointed by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.);
• Dana Levenson: managing director, Royal Bank of Scotland, Chicago, appointed by U.S. DOT secretary;
• Dr. Adrian Moore: vice president of Research, Reason Foundation, Los Angeles, appointed by former Rep. Jin McCrery (R-La.);
• Kathy Ruffal Ruffalo and Associates, Lander, Wyoming, appointed by Baucus;
• Elliot "Lee" Sander: executive director and CEO, Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New York City, appointed by Rangel;
• Zack Scrivner: council, Bakersfield, Calif., appointed by McCrery;
• Martin Schultz, vice president of government affairs, Pinnacle West Capital Corp., Phoenix, appointed by U.S. DOT secretary; and
• Geoffrey Yarema: Nossaman Gunther Knox and Elliot LLP, Los Angeles, appointed by U.S. DOT secretary.