Tuesday, September 01, 2009

A Call for Federal Transportation Reform

At a Seattle forum last week the National Transportation Policy Project (NTPP) made the case for an overhaul of federal transportation policy. Their case comes in the form of a report, Performance Driven: A New Vision for U.S. Transportation Policy, the product of a bipartisan group of 26 politically and professionally diverse members. The report proposes five key goals for future national transportation policy: economic growth, national connectivity, metropolitan accessibility, energy security and environmental protection, and safety.

Based on these goals, the NTPP report contends that performance measures should be used to determine future federal funding allocation to state transportation agencies. While the report proposes that 67% of federal funding remain formula based, the other 33% would be competitively based on the performance of states’ transportation systems. As part of this performance determination, the group also calls for increased investment in Intelligent Transportation Systems, or systems embedded in transportation infrastructure that monitor the system and provide critical data to decision-makers and citizens.

The NTPP pitched their report to an audience of approximately 150 in the transportation field, including numerous state transportation heavy weights such as Paula Hammond, Secretary of the Washington State Department of Transportation and Charlie Howard, Transportation Planning Director for the Puget Sound Regional Council. Joni Earl, Sound Transit CEO, offered her eloquent and insightful thoughts on NTPP's recommendations during her keynote address, suggesting increased consideration of multimodal transportation in the NTPP's proposed goals and performance measures.

The NTPP’s report has been and will continue to be circulated on Capital Hill in the next 12 to 18 months of debate leading up to the next Federal Transportation Authorization Bill. While the current report is a finished product, NTPP representatives stressed throughout the forum that the conversation regarding federal transportation reform is ongoing and far from over.

Take a look at the NTPP's report here

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