May 3, 2011

U.S. mayors oppose gas tax without more transit investment

The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) released a 176-city survey focusing on local transportation infrastructure investments on Tuesday at the National Press Club. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, USCM Transportation Committee Chair, delivered the survey findings.

Given the economic problems facing the nation, mayors believe it is more important than ever that federal transportation priorities be targeted to metropolitan areas — home to two-thirds of U.S. residents. A majority of mayors said they will oppose a gas tax increase unless funding is directed to these areas to improve roads, bridges and expand transit, instead of highway expansion. Mayors are saying that we don’t need another bridge to nowhere.

Other findings include:

•  Ninety-eight percent of mayors point to investment in affordable, reliable transportation as an important part of their cities’ economic recovery and growth.

•  Eighty percent of mayors indicate that highway expansion should be a low priority.

•  Ninety-three percent of the mayors urge reforms in federal transportation programs to allow cities and their metropolitan areas to receive a greater share of federal funds directly.

Metropolitan areas account for 86 percent of employment, 90 percent of wage income and, over the next 20 years, 94 percent of the nation’s economic growth, but they are saddled with the nation’s worst traffic jams, its oldest roads and bridges, and transit systems at capacity. These areas are receiving significantly less in federal transportation investments than would reflect their role and importance to the nation’s economy.

This survey of mayors and their transportation infrastructure investment needs was sponsored by Parsons Brinckerhoff.

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