NCSL Podcasts

Transportation and the Infrastructure Bill OAS Episode 168

Episode Summary

The focus of this podcast is the transportation portion of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, or IIJA, signed by President Biden in November 2021. Overall, it provided $1.2 trillion for roads, bridges, highways, broadband, water projects and more. It’s the largest investment in transportation infrastructure since the Eisenhower administration. The first guest on the podcast is Charles Small, the deputy assistant secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs at U.S. Department of Transportation. He explained what’s in the bill for transportation projects and discussed new programs related to bridges and electric vehicle charging, the investment in transit and how legislatures can make the most of the federal funds available. The second guest is Joung Lee, deputy director-chief policy officer of The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). He discussed the perspective of state directors of transportation, how they see the rollout of the bill so far and how the mix of formula and competitive grants affects states.

Episode Notes


Episode Transcription

Ed:       Hello and welcome to “Our American States," a podcast from the National Conference of State Legislatures. This podcast is all about legislatures, the people in them, the policies, process, and politics that shape them. I am your host, Ed Smith. 


CS:       The bill will provide about $1.2 trillion worth of infrastructure not only for transportation, but for water, for broadband, for energy, for a variety of sectors. Just in the transportation space, we are going to be stewards of about $660 billion of that funding.


Ed:       That was Charles Small, the deputy assistant secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs at the U.S. Department of Transportation. He is one of my guests on the podcast. The focus of this podcast is the transportation portion of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act or IIJA signed by President Biden in November 2021. Overall, it provided $1.2 trillion for roads, bridges, broadband, water projects and more. It’s the largest investment in transportation infrastructure since the Eisenhower administration. Small discussed what’s in the bill for transportation projects, new programs related to bridges and electric vehicle charging, the investment in transit and how legislatures can make the most of the federal funds available. 


            My second guest is Joung Lee, who is deputy director-chief policy officer of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials or AASHTO. He discussed the perspective of state directors of transportation how they see the rollout of the bill so far and how the mix of formula and competitive grants affects states. 

            This is one of several podcasts this year on the IIJA. Other shows focus on energy, water systems and the expansion of broadband. Here is our discussion starting with Charles Small. 


            Charles, welcome to the podcast.


CS:       Hey. Good afternoon, Ed. Great to be with you.


Ed:       Now I know you spent time working with state and local governments before going to the US Department of Transportation. I wonder if you could tell us a little bit about that work and how you ended up at USDOT?


CS:       Absolutely. I’ve been in the world of intergovernmental affairs for a very long time. I got my first exposure to it when I was working for a small political consulting shop that was really specialized in working with the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Very memorably remember spending my very first USCM meeting listening to Tom Cochran at dinner just go on and on. You know he has been in this industry basically I think since the beginning of it. So, kind of learning at some of the legend a little bit. My career accelerated when I spent about 5½ years with the state of New York in Governor Cuomo’s office, D.C. office. Really great experience and trying to understand how government architecture can lead to interesting policy outcomes. And then kind of graduated to running my own shop for the city of Los Angeles which is kind of like a state in some ways given how large it is. … Just through a confluence of events was blessed to be appointed to this position as the deputy assistant secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs. Just being able to leverage all of those experiences from the state, from the city side, really how that all fits together. You know, obviously, working with state legislators as well at both stops has really given me some great insight as we did the policy work for then the American Jobs Plan. Passed it as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and now have begun to implement that bill throughout the Country.


Ed:       Let’s talk about the transportation funding in the IIJA. This bill is a combination competitive grants and formula funding programs for roads and bridges and a lot of new programs on a host of issues. Can you help break that down for our listeners.


CS:       Yeah absolutely Ed. First off, just globally the bill will provide about $1.2 trillion worth of infrastructure not only for transportation, but for water, for broadband, for energy for a variety of sectors. Just in the transportation space, we are going to be stewards of about 660 billion of that funding. And what that means is the largest investment in our roads and highways and bridges since the Eisenhower administration. The largest investment in our passenger rail system since the beginning of Amtrak 51 years ago. The largest investment in public transit in the history of this country. And also, the largest investment in climate particularly on the electric vehicle side is of keen key interest to a lot of states right now. So, we are incredibly excited about the formula side, which means the states and state capitals and state legislatures are going to have a really, really big role in deciding how this funding is actually going to be utilized and state legislatures are really going to be at the frontlines of figuring out what works and what doesn’t work. And where we really want to ensure and strengthen that partnership so that we can understand what’s happening on the ground and how we can adjust our guidance on formula fundings to be helpful to projects at the state level.


            And then we have the discretionary grant side. Buttigieg has about $130 billion of funding that is at his discretion. It’s competitive. It’s all competitive, but it means that he basically decides where it goes. And actually, this week, you are going to see two banner programs out of the 46 novel new programs that we have to set up on the formula side and discretionary side because of the IIJA. We are going to be releasing the raise grant program as well as the FTA low or no bus emission grant program and probably make up to 300 or 400 different kinds of awards just this week alone. So, it’s about $4 billion of funding that we are going to put out on the street this week. So, we are really, really excited about that, but cannot do that without our partnerships with the states. 


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Ed:       What’s your perspective on implementation so far, about a year in. Are you satisfied with how it’s gone?


CS:       Look. We are hitting all of our congressionally mandated deadlines which is very, very important. But I mean, I think all of the transportation metaphors apply here. We are building this train, building this plane as we are flying it, as we are riding it. What you will see kind of in year two is that actually a lot of these programs will come out a little bit earlier because we’ve done all the work. We’ve put out the guidance. They are not really going to change that much and so you will start to see tweaks and we will start to develop more of a rhythm in years two, three, four and five in terms of this is grant writing season, this is you know meeting season. And then the good part, this is award season, ribbon cutting season, groundbreaking season. So, we are really excited about that. But in terms of implementation for the first year, I mean from our perspective, it has gone completely, completely great. Including what I just referenced this week, we’ve made available I think almost $100 billion worth of funding on the formula and discretionary grant side to state and local governments. And that funding is going to be an incredible down payment on really getting our infrastructure ready for the challenges of the post pandemic economy as well as meeting the GO political moment. We find ourselves once again in great power and competition and we need to ensure that our airports, our roads, our ports, as well as the new sectors like EV’s and you know maybe even things like advanced air mobility which the White House just held a Summit on. So, we’ve got to prepare for those industries because they are coming, and we want to ensure American leadership and American manufacturing jobs in states around the Country. 


Ed:       What’s your perspective on implementation so far, about a year in. Are you satisfied with how it’s gone? 


CS:       We have put out some I think really interesting transparency mechanisms including actually putting out a schedule of when we expect our grant opportunities to come out ahead of time. So, DOT directors can actually plan around that schedule and deploy their grant writing out assets as needed. To a certain extent, people feel a bit overwhelmed because we have these 46 new programs in addition to the tradition programs that we run which have new guidelines, which have you know updates from a policy perspective. I’ve heard that it’s been a bit overwhelming because you know trying to find the traditional path of how you get to yes on a project is different because we have these latest programs. We have new policy guidelines. At the same time, you know also the challenges would be common. A supply chain side on the materials side is very real. That is something that we are continuing to work with state DOT’s and our partners across the administration and try to ameliorate those challenges. And I think lastly too on workforce. And that is I think one of the real key things and one of the things we’ve partnered very well with our friends in the Department of Labor to try to ensure that we actually have enough people to build these things. I spent some time with one of the top engineering societies in the Country. They told me they need 82,000 engineers they estimate to implement the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. That is a lot of people. And so, we need to make those folks or we need to bring them over into the United States. I think all of these challenges are good problems to have. Much better than you know three or four years ago where we didn’t have this kind of funding and couldn’t deliver on these big projects. 




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Ed:       Let me ask you about a couple of programs in the bill for bridges and electric vehicle charging. This is an interesting week to discuss electric vehicles because of the bill in Congress that seems likely to pass that will provide incentives for people to buy EVs and they’re going to need somewhere to plug them in. Can you talk about those two programs.


CS:       Well look. On bridges, it’s an incredible story as I said earlier. The largest investment in our nation’s bridge system--over $40 billion dollars--since the beginning, the founding of the interstate highway system back in the ’50s, which is just an incredible, incredible amount. It’s really broken down into two categories. Again, formula funding and discretionary grant funding. We put out the guided spec in January for the $26.5 billion over the next five years of formula funds. And what’s really interesting about that and one thing I really would encourage state legislatures to really think about as they apply those funds and working with their state DOT’s and governors each year is to really think about how you can solve for locally owned bridges in addition to your state assets. You have to set aside 15% of your bridge formula funding for local bridges, but that’s matched 100% from the federal government. So, in some ways you are actually freeing up state assets to deliver more funding to your critical state bridges around your state. So, I think that is a great way you can really leverage this funding and really maximize it. 


            On the discretionary grant side, we have our current bridge investment program grant opportunity out right now that is $2.4 billion out of the $12.5 billion total over the next five years. And it has three different categories. Planning grants, which have actually already accepted applications for that back in late July and hopefully we will be making some of those award’s announcements in the fall. A large bridge count so that means bridges or the varsity bridges as I like to call them. So, bridges over 100 million dollars. And then the junior varsity bridges, which are bridges under $100 million. So, we are really excited about these programs and what they can do to really start to take down that 45,000 bridges that we know are in poor or fair condition around the country. 


            On the EV side and certainly with the you know impending reconciliation bill really supercharging that, it is our expectation that the $7.5 billion that was set aside in the IIJA will really lay the spine in the backbone of a national EV network. Proud to say that we have now made 85% of the interstate highway system, 190,000 road miles available if they are eligible to be part of the electric vehicle initiative. But also, we just received all the state plans. And so, we received state plans for all 50 states plus D.C. and Puerto Rico. And we will be hoping to turn around those plans and actually release those dollars in early September. So, states will start to see and feel this funding. And one thing I’d really encourage state legislators to think about as they start thinking and planning into next year and working with state DOT’s is try to clear out as much regulatory underbrush to really deliver and get these EV charging stations up, which you know certainly means getting the funding from us and energy, but also ensuring that your grid is reliable as you start to add potentially more users to it. We are really, really excited about getting this funding out the door and getting it out quickly because this is probably going to be one of the first things your constituents actually physically see that’s different about the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. It takes some time to build a bridge. It takes some time to build a terminal for an airport. But you can actually stand up an EV charging station really, really quickly in comparison to those two items. So, I’m really, really excited about this program. We are also going to use this experience on the formula side to inform our discretionary grant program which will come out later this fall so definitely be on the lookout for that as well. 


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Ed:       I’m curious about the role transit plays in all this. I know that can sometimes be a bit more of a local issue. I saw the news about the new program for transit accessibility but I’m sure there’s more to it more than that.



CS:       We are incredibly excited about what the largest investment in the history of transit in the United States can do. Almost $107 billion of formula funding. One of the things that we are really, really excited about is the $23 billion that is going to be set aside for the Capital Investment Grant Program. This is one of the key programs that will fund subway, commuter rail, light rail throughout the country and it’s really and bus rapid transit as well and it’s our goal to try to get as many communities particularly over 100,000 of reliable transit. What we are also I think incredibly excited about here is is the number of the new programs and certainly Ed you just mentioned one where we are going to be looking at a lot of our particularly legacy systems like in New York and Chicago and St. Louis where you know we unfortunately didn’t build with everyone in mind. And now we are actually going to be able to fund those systems. Get them you know to add elevators. Add escalators. Make sure they are more ADA compliant. And, of course, for the new systems for our fast-growing regions like the Phoenix’s of the world or Tampa where we can actually build it right the first time from the get-go. We are going to be able to do that that kind of funding as well. So just really incredibly excited about that. 


            Of course, there’s going to be we have new ferry programs as well in the transit space that I think a lot of states are really going to take advantage of. The interesting thing that is happening in transit now is as we sort of learn the lessons of the coronavirus from the pandemic and you know how are we going to deliver transit services in a way that ensures that people can still get to work safely, but also get to where they want to go safely. And I think that is going to be kind of the next big challenge and how we pair that with housing as well is also going to be really, really critical. And that’s one of the reasons why we are also going to be spending a lot of time on transit-oriented development and how that works to help enhance and make our transit systems more viable throughout the Country. 


Ed:       And finally, can you talk about the state role here, and the importance of USDOT working with State DOTs


CS:       When this department was first authorized and founded back in the ’60s, it was really originally thought of as just kind of a giant money cannon to states. That still is its very true to this day. We are here to provide funding to state legislators, to state DOTs for states to make the decisions and as the Secretary has affirmed in his meetings with state legislators and state DOT directors and governors is that you know states are going to have an incredibly huge influence maybe even more than us on actually how a lot of these programs work which is why we want to ensure that our partnership is really strong with the legislators and other state actors because you guys are going to find out what’s working first even before we do. And so, what we can do to tweak our programs to ensure that you are getting the best service delivery for your constituents and for your residents is going to be fundamental and crucial to the success to this law. States probably play a role that maybe even you know to a certain extent in some cases certainly bigger than even US DOT plays even though you know our charge is to cover everything in the Country and that’s why we’ve been spending a lot of time with groups like the National Conference of State Legislatures and other key intergovernmental organizations like AASHTO of course cause we cannot deliver this Bill in the best way for the American people without the partnership of states. And I’m really excited to see where this sharing takes us.


Ed:       A money cannon to the states. I like that and it’s a great note to close on. Great talking with you Charles. Thanks.


CS:       Of course, Ed. Thanks. 


Ed:       I will be right back after this with Joung Lee from AASHTO.


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            John, welcome to the podcast.


JL:        Thank you so much for having me.


Ed:       So, I wonder if we could start and have you tell our listeners who may know their own department of transportation but maybe not about DOTs in other states a little about what your role is at AASHTO and how AASHTO serves state departments of transportation.


JL:        Absolutely. So, we are a nonprofit association similar to NCSL. Been around for over 100 years at this point and we represent all of the nation’s state departments of transportation. So, 50 states plus D.C. and Puerto Rico. And this is about all modes of transportation whether it’s aviation, rail, highways, transit, water and active transportation like pedestrian bicycle transportation. They are all covered under the AASHTO umbrella. And in my role as deputy director and chief policy officer, it’s really making sure that our you know strategic initiative as directed by our board of directors, which is all the CEOs of the state DOTs, and my boss, the executive director, are really serving and advancing the interest of AASHTO. And then also serving as the chief policy officer and being, kind of, the I guess the main liaison with our federal partner obviously in the executive branch agencies like the U.S. Department of Transportation and Congress and then really, I mean just most important stakeholder and partners like the National Conference of State Legislatures. 


Ed:       So, let’s dive into the issue of the transportation funding in the Investment Infrastructure and Jobs Act. I hope I got that right. I know this bill is a combination of reauthorized spending and new money. And we are talking specifically about money for roads, bridges and transit. And I wonder if you can break that down and talk about, you know, what’s in there. And also, if you think states were successful in trying to structure the legislation in a way that worked best for the way that states work. 


JL:        Absolutely. So, the Infrastructural Law or the Investment Infrastructure and Jobs Act, IIJA, is quite the mouthful. We are still trying to figure out how yeah how best to call it, but obviously the important thing is that this is really a seminal piece of infrastructure investment in this country. We are talking about $568 billion dollars just for transportation alone through the U.S. Department of Transportation. About $380 billion of that coming from the Federal Highway Trust Fund, which has long been the mainstay of federal funding in this country for highways and transit. But there is even more money--$184 billion dollars in what we call advance appropriations that, you know even though this is coming from the general funds of the US Treasury, they felt it so important to lock that in for the five years of the IIJA so that’s what that money is. And substantial increase across the board in all modes of transportation. For highways and transit, we are looking at about a 30% funding increase from the last year of the last authorizing legislation and then the first year of IIJA, which is right now which is larger increase than anything we’ve seen in certainly this generation or maybe even longer than that. And then the most substantial increase we are seeing actually is on passenger rail programs. Year over year increase of 440% so that is such a staggering increase that I think one of the things to really figure out is well how do we deploy that money as effectively and really meet even higher expectations that come with that kind of funding level increase.


Ed:       I think it is sometimes difficult for people to grasp exactly how much money is in this piece of legislation. How is implementation going so far?  This is about a year in I guess, but what do you hear back from your state cohorts at the Department of Transportation?  Are they happy about how it is going?  Are they unhappy?  They are not sure?


JL:        The IIJA in terms of its policy underpinnings, I mean we are really happy to see what’s in it from the state view of key perspective because we had five what we call the core of policy priorities flowing into IIJA. One was let’s get a timely reauthorization stable five-year bill. That’s exactly what IIJA is. Let’s get most of the dollars put into formula programs because that goes right to the states for states to figure out how to make their investments. Let’s look at increasing flexibility in the federal program. Reducing program burdens. Improving product delivery. Those pieces are all in there. Supporting and ensuring safety testability to harmless innovation and technology. There are a lot of good things in terms of, you know, say EV electric vehicle … deployment. Increased research and development funding across the board. So those are all good things. Four out of the five that we saw. The only one that we didn’t see is fixing the federal highway trust fund that I mentioned earlier. It’s running about a $15 billion cash deficit essentially in the recent year and it’s relied on $272 billion of general funds to be transferred into the account that is supposed to be self sufficient and that remains a major policy question. But in the meantime, certainly you know in terms of implementing the IIJA given its massive nature of it, I think what we are trying to figure out is how much of it is really a sprint and how much of it is really a marathon. We do have a five-year period of investment here underpinned by the IIJA, but we are trying our best to meet and also manage expectations because 30% increase that I mentioned earlier for highways is a huge increase. But does it solve all of the investment you know backlog or address it?  No. So how do you kind of make sure that very tangible and beneficial you know progress is being made, but given that a lot of this stuff capital investment takes many years to really plan and deploy and be able to fit that into the overall kind of the puzzle I guess of how do we ultimately use transportation to improve quality of life and economic competitiveness and safety?So, I think there are many specific areas of interest that the bill really identifies like the EV formula program that I mentioned, but also bridge formula program, safety programs. Ahm looking at equity issues in transportation. Looking at infrastructure resiliency. Workforce deployment or development in deployment. All of those things are at play that I think we saw that you know from the outside we need to think about it. But I think the true probably the pieces that have been more at the forefront lately that wasn’t envisioned a year ago when IIJA was making its way through the Senate one is on inflation and cost escalation especially in the construction industry. And then the second piece being the idea of a federal gas tax holiday that the president had mentioned last month and the policy ramifications on that in addition to obviously the revenue ramifications. 


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Ed:       Let’s break it down a take a bite out of one year. What would you tell people to expect in the next year?


JL:        As I mentioned, the formula programs, those are fairly straight forward again because they tend to be the main form of federal aid over the year where states and localities already have investment plans right. So, you are really just matching and mixing, and you know the federal dollars with their state and local resources. But there are so many new programs even on the formula side that we need to socialize and I think that year one is really critical for that. But I would say that that question overall is even greater for discussion of grant programs where it’s the federal government that’s making the direct project selections. These are the types of projects that we would want to spend the federal dollar on. And you know when you look at the IIJA as a whole, you have about three fourths of the total dollars going by formula of the state, but that quarter percent takes a lot more handholding or higher touch I guess is one way to put it in terms of making sure that the right projects are selected. You have the project sponsor who is able to really carry the projects out as expected and make sure it delivers on the benefits that were considered as part of the project approval process. Those kinds of things again in year one its really just standing up the discretionary grant program in terms of like what’s the competitive criteria. Let’s start rolling out the expectations for project applications.


Ed:       Well, I am curious. There is of course throughout the bill and not just in the transportation area that is split between the formula and the competitive grants, but you were saying that’s how the federal government directs states to issues that they are particularly interested in. What are some of those in the transportation area? 


JL:        Yeah, I think a great one is ahm the Electric Vehicle Charging Formula Program. It’s really probably the issue at the forefront right now because by August 1 of this year – it’s coming up pretty soon, ahm every state has to submit their EV Infrastructure Plan with the Federal Highway Administration which is the first process in assigning the formula dollar to the EV charging facilities throughout. And you have questions like okay the law requires EV charging stations every 50 miles. Great. But especially in rural areas is there a practical benefit of doing something like that if you have trouble even just getting electricity out in the middle of nowhere to be able to provide that station. So, there are a lot of practical things that still have to be thought about. But there is also I would say great progress being made because of the emphasis in the infrastructural wall for programs like this. 


            Another area is I would say the on transportation equity, there is a pilot program called reconnecting community. And this is looking to address you know the impact, a harmful impact, of past infrastructure development whether it is highways or railroads that bisected cohesive communities. Is there a way to not only address the harmful impacts of the past but make things even better going forward.


Ed:       I did want to drill down a little bit on EV charging. We talked a little bit about that, but also the new programs for bridges as well. I wonder if you could give us an overview of that and is there anything else to talk about as far as ah EV goes?


JL:        Yeah so I think on the bridge program, there is a large amount of money going through the formula side as I had mentioned, but there is also a 15% set aside of that formula money to be spent on what we call as off system bridges, which means really smaller bridges or bridges that don’t see as much traffic that tend to I think you know seen as they are not in as great of a shape. But part of it is also the strategic investment decisions over the years where really you have to look at the you know the bridges that are used by most folks. And that’s I think an example where we want to make sure that states are able to provide the institutional capacity, they tend to have in the transportation space with localities that are not as used especially dealing with federal dollars that come with certain requirements and you know certain expectations. So, I think that will be a great example actually to further strengthening the state local relation. And then when it comes to the electric vehicle charging program, we are very supportive of the administration’s goal. The president has laid out 500,000 EV charging stations in the coming years. But I think we are also trying to be cognizant of we have the domestic capacity here to be able to produce insufficient quantities of such EV charging infrastructure and that has been some overlap with the Buy America imperative that’s not just the president saying it. It is in the IIJA that established the Made in America office at the White House, and we’ve had some good conversations with them and really trying to find a balance of how do we make sure that deployment takes place, but also doesn’t get hampered by the lack of domestic supply that we are experiencing right now. 


Ed:       Excellent point. I don’t think one that most of us would have thought about. Let me ask you about transit. This is often something on a local issue, but what’s the element of transit or the role of transit in the IIJA?


JL:        So, transit is also a major area of emphasis in the IIJA, and I would say that even though I think a lot of the focus is typically on urban transit and rightly so because they tend to be the biggest system. But states actually play such an important role when it comes to rural transit. When you’re beyond the metropolitan areas and you want to be able to get around and you don’t have a vehicle or you are not able to or don’t want to rely on a vehicle, you are benefiting from a key accessibility and mobility of service that the state provides through investments and rural vehicle fleet and rural transit systems all across the country. Just to get to your doctor’s appointment. To get to your job. That’s where states I think really do shine.


Ed:       Well, that’s interesting because you can see some of the emphasis on rural America as well and the broadband legislation for example. As we get ready to wrap up, I wonder if we can talk a little more about the state role particularly the need for matching funds which I know is always an issue. And the role of the legislature.


JL:        Absolutely. Matching funds well per federal dollars is absolute crucial because when you look at the Federal Aid Highway Program, that is the biggest federal program by far and you are talking about 80% federal share: 20% non-federal share. So, for each dollar that the state puts in with their local partner, you got about $4.00 you get back from the federal government. No state has ever not been able to come up with their non-federal share right because the benefits of the federal dollar there is so great. But that means that I did kind of allude to earlier about the fact that federal dollars just tend to be more complicated to use than state funds. So, there is still opportunity I think at the federal level to improve the project delivery process as part of the federal program. But in the meantime, we’ve also seen states where hey like we will swap the federal dollars with our own state funds for the dollars that are provided to our local partners. Again, because it is easier to use. Some really interesting things happening in a more like organic way could just make program delivery as easy as possible. In terms of the states really stepping up to the plate when it comes to transportation revenues, at the federal level we haven’t seen the gas tax increase since 1993 at this point. And so, it’s been at this 18.4 cents per gallon level for almost 30 years. Whereas in the states, I think they’ve been able to kind of look at we need to evolve with the times and investment needs and come up with commensurate revenues. So, we have a super majority of states at this point, 36 to be exact, that have raised their own gas tax or adjusted gas tax revenues since 2010. And in terms of I think how the you know state DOT’s and the Executive Branch continues to work with obviously the state legislatures that – it is such a fundamental and important partnership. I think you know you see kind of different ways of how the programs and projects might be delivered from state to state. But at its core, its really about you know looking at what the basic responsibilities are which I think for the legislatures is making sure that the state program are authorized at a proper time, proper policies, proper priorities of the state. And then to provide that ongoing legislative oversight of the state DOTs and then I think our state DOT folks they really are more of the nuts-and-bolts folks right that are all about program and project execution. I think there is always going to be some natural I guess balance of pension and collaboration from legislatures and state DOTs, but at the end of the day I mean that’s really what makes the state’s role so invaluable in how you know transportation projects are done. The system is developed and maintained in this Country in every corner no matter where you go. Ahm the role of the state legislatures and their Executive Branch counterparts it’s foundation.


Ed:       Well thanks so much for walking us through this. This is such an incredibly important piece of legislation and so much money going to the states. I think everything we can do to try to understand how that’s going to work and how it is likely to work over the next five years is really important. Thank you. 


JL:        Really enjoyed the conversation Ed. Thanks for having me. 


Ed:       And that concludes this episode of our podcast. We encourage you to review and rate NCSL podcasts on Apple podcasts, Google Play, Pocket Casts, Stitcher or Spotify. We also encourage you to check out our other podcasts:  Legislatures:  The Inside Story and the special series Building Democracy. Thanks for listening. 


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