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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

AASHTO lists 'Top 10' transportation issues for 2012


Yesterday, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) unveiled its list of the top 10 transportation issues that will be “talked, written or tweeted about and legislated” in 2012.

The top 10 topics are:

1.  Congress enacting a long-term transportation bill. “Enactment of a bill is a significant priority for state departments of transportation as a whole,” said AASHTO Executive Director John Horsely in a prepared statement.

2.  Managing in lean times — how states address aging bridges, highways and transit systems with stagnant or reduced funding.

3.  Responding to and planning for natural disasters. “In 2012, more planning is in the offing for climate adaptation and smarter disaster response plans,” AASHTO officials said.

4.  Reducing traffic deaths. “In the year ahead, look for more bans or restrictions on texting and cell phone use while driving,” they said.

5.  Increasing the visibility of transportation as an issue in the upcoming presidential campaign.

6.  Generating new ways to fund transportation. “How to fund transportation will be a key consideration for many state legislatures in 2012, particularly as the cost of construction materials begins to rise after falling or remaining flat for several years,” AASHTO officials said.

7.  Advancing intercity passenger rail. “States will move ahead on billions of dollars worth of construction and improvement projects. Increasing passenger ridership in key corridors will improve operating revenues,” they said.  “Work ranging from laying new track and rebuilding train stations to purchasing new ‘next generation’ rail cars is expected to boost employment, the nation’s manufacturing base and economic development around key stations.”

8.  Engaging the business community in support of transportation. “The business community is quickly recognizing that American industry and the economy will falter without a strong, safe and modern network of ports, railroads and highways,” AASHTO officials said. “Watch for more companies to become vocal in the year ahead about the linkage between transportation and staying competitive in the global economy.”

9.  Serving a growing elderly population in urban and rural areas. Solutions will include increased transit in cities and rural areas.

10.  Responding to new storm-water reforms and other environmental regulations.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/29/2011