Report: U.S. transportation system failing

Posted on October 5, 2010

The United States' decaying and underfunded transportation system will "undermine its status in the global economy" unless innovative reforms are embraced by Congress and the public, according to a new report released Monday.  A bipartisan panel of experts that compiled the data estimates that "an additional $134 billion to $262 billion must be spent per year through 2035 to rebuild and improve roads, rail systems and air transportation," The Washington Post reported. To read the full story, click here.

Recommendations outlined by the report include:

1. Stop the bleeding: Congress must address the immediate crisis in transportation

2. Beyond the gas tax: Innovative thinking is needed to develop the next generation
of user fees. Specifically, future funding mechanisms should not depend primarily on fossil-fuel consumption—which the government is actively seeking to discourage through a number of other policies—to keep up with transportation investment needs.

3. Jobs for the future, not just today: Future stimulus spending should be directed to
those transportation projects that will deliver the greatest returns in terms of future U.S. competitiveness, economic growth, and jobs. Building a foundation for sustained prosperity and long-term job creation is more important than boosting short-term employment in road construction.

4. Pass the power, please: Clarify decision-making power and enhance the effectiveness of states, localities, and metropolitan planning organizations.

5. Adopt a capital budget: The federal government should adopt accounting methods
that (A) recognize expenditures on transportation infrastructure as investments (rather
than consumption) and (B) take into account future returns on those investments.

6. Connect the dots: Adopt an integrated approach to transportation planning that
includes freight and goods movement and stresses intermodal connectivity.

7. Getting Americans home in time for dinner: Find more effective ways of reducing
urban congestion.

8. It’s all about leverage: Encourage public-private partnerships while also improving
oversight of such partnerships.

9. Deliver transportation investments on time: Reform project planning, review, and
permitting processes to speed actual implementation.

10. Build a foundation for informed policy: Better and more timely data are essential
to measure progress toward defined goals and objectives and to improve the performance of the nation’s transportation systems.

To read a copy of the report, click here.

 METRO TV: To watch the press conference, click here.

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