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AASHTO outlines federal transit reform plan

Posted on October 28, 2008

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) approved a slate of recommendations for next year's authorization of federal highway and transit programs. The current legislation expires September 30, 2009.

"This is not business as usual," said AASHTO President Allen Biehler, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. "The American public has every right to see what they will get for increased transportation investment. We have to be accountable and we have to move to a performance-based program focused on national goals. That's where state transportation leaders want to go."

The comprehensive multi-modal package of recommendations urges that the federal program go "back to basics" by focusing on areas of national interest – preservation and renewal, interstate commerce, safety, congestion, system reliability, and enhanced environment and quality of life.

Increased federal funding would be coupled with national performance standards established to achieve the national goals. States would self-define targets that would deliver accountability for the investment of federal funds.

Among the goals called for in AASHTO's new transportation agenda are: Increasing funding for congestion relief projects and metro areas; improving highway connections and transit access for rural America; and doubling transit ridership to 20 billion by 2030 and 50 billion by 2050.

Emphasizing the need to employ every kind of transportation to meet future demands, AASHTO calls for an overall $545 billion investment from 2010 through 2015 for highways, transit, freight movement and intercity passenger rail.

The policy positions approved by the AASHTO board of directors are available online at http://www.transportation.org/?siteid=98.

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