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Bipartisan Policy Center releases surface transportation policy reform proposal


The Bipartisan Policy Center's National Transportation Policy Project (NTPP) recently unveiled a plan aimed at transforming federal surface transportation policy.

The group proposes to restructure federal programs, update the criteria for formulas and create a performance-based system that directly ties transportation spending to broader national goals, such as economic growth, connectivity, accessibility, safety, energy security and environmental protection.

"One of the principal current problems is trying to coordinate over 100 different transportation programs that Congress has authorized over the course of half a century, while dealing with an aging and declining infrastructure," said NTPP co-chair and former Sen. Slade Gorton in a prepared statement.

The plan, "Performance Driven: A New Vision for U.S. Transportation Policy," proposes to narrow the federal programs to six core "mode neutral" formula programs that award federal transportation dollars based on system condition and performance, and focus on preserving the overall system. A connectivity program would improve the condition and performance of existing transportation systems that connect the nation, while another program would preserve and enhance the performance of core assets, such as highways, bridges, tunnels, and bus and rail transit infratructure in major metropolitan areas.

NTPP also proposes that all funding recipients be held accountable for their contributions to national goals. A new system of metrics would measure project performance in several areas: improved access, a more efficient national network, reduced corridor congestion and petroleum consumption, lower CO2 emissions, and reduced fatalities and injuries. States and regions that perform well against those goals would be entitled to bonus funding; areas that don't would be subject to greater federal scrutiny in receiving transportation funding.

To download a copy of the report, follow this link.

Formed in 2007, the NTPP is a bipartisan group comprised of 26 members, led by Gorton, former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer, former Congressman Sherwood Boehlert and former Congressman Martin Sabo.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/9/2009