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AASHTO proposes recommendations, reforms for new surface transportation bill


With SAFETEA-LU set to expire in less than a year, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) have issued a series of recommendations they believe should be included in the next federal surface transportation funding bill.

The multi-modal package calls for investing $545 billion from 2010 through 2015 in surface transportation projects, including $93 billion for transit, $42 billion for freight transportation and $35 billion for intercity passenger rail.

Among AASHTO's goals for the new transportation program: increasing funding for congestion relief projects and metropolitan areas; boosting transit ridership to 20 billion by 2030 and 50 billion by 2050; trimming six to 12 months from project delivery times by expanding state environmental responsibilities and integrating planning; and dedicating federal funding for a fast and reliable intercity passenger-rail network.

AASHTO also has proposed a series of reform initiatives, such as streamlining the current number of federal programs and concentrating 90 percent of federal dollars on "core programs" distributed to the states. The association also recommends the new bill should expand the current congestion air quality program to include climate change initiatives; provide dedicated federal funding for a national intercity passenger-rail system, including high-speed rail, regional and long-distance corridors; address freight transportation needs though planning and investment programs; and boost transit funding and ridership while streamlining the federal program structure and grant processes.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/28/2008