Wednesday, November 19

The next four years of infrastructure

Transportation for America has just posted Barack Obama's response to their petition for strengthening America's transportation infrastructure.

Some key points:

"I support Amtrak funding and the development of high-speed freight and passenger rail networks across the country."

He expressed a commitment to work with States and localities on regional transit systems.

"As you know, all of these measures will have significant environmental and metropolitan planning advantages and help diversify our nation’s transportation infrastructure. Everyone benefits if we can leave our cars, walk, bicycle and access other transportation alternatives. I agree that we can stop wasteful spending and save Americans money, and as president, I will re- evaluate the transportation funding process to ensure that smart growth considerations are taken into account."

Super. A next president who gets it - that the transportation system we adopt is tightly interwoven with the land use patterns we develop. Currently, the Federal Transit Authority requires transit projects to take land use implications into account before acquiring federal funding, but according to a Brookings report in their transportation reform series:

"There are no requirements that local governments consider land use effects for federal highway dollars, but it is an essential part of new transit investments. Highway programs could benefit substantially if local and state agencies were asked to show how they will protect the investment by better interface with land use."

Ever since ISTEA legislation in the early 90's, the federal government has given formal assent to the notion that transit and highways ought to be on a level playing field. Perhaps the next administration and congress will be the ones to finish the job.

1 comment:

LH said...

thanks for this post!