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Nation needs infrastructure planning 'overhaul,' report states


The United States needs an overhauled regional infrastructure planning process and a viable federal framework or the nation won’t be able to compete in the global marketplace, according to a report co-published by nonprofit education and research organization the Urban Land Institute and professional services firm Ernst & Young.

Released yesterday, “Infrastructure 2008: A Competitive Advantage” analyzes current and planned infrastructure investments and touches on infrastructure needs in 23 of the country’s largest metropolitan regions.

Among the report’s findings: The nation is “witnessing a historic shift away from highway spending toward transit spending,” as most regions are planning significant transit expansions with minimal changes in highway programs. But, transit-oriented development needs to play a larger role in cities’ transportation plans.

“Land use and transportation planning must be coordinated at state and regional levels … and transit authorities need to operate with common purpose,” the report says.

Meanwhile, freight railroads since 2000 have spent $10 billion to upgrade tracks, equipment and facilities and have budgeted another $12 billion for additional expansions and improvements. However, $175 billion is needed to help railroads handle anticipated demand during the next 20 years and a coordinated federal funding formula is needed, the report states.

“Government needs to set a policy course that enables greater mobility and productivity as the nation’s population grows and concentrates in major gateways and mega regions,” the report’s authors said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/30/2008