Working with former Transportation Secretaries Norman Mineta and Samuel Skinner, the University of Virginia's Miller Center released a report in 2010 outlining ten recommendations to fix the nation's overburdened transportation system. The report received a lot of attention when it was released, including praise from President Obama. With the Highway Trust Fund set to run out of money in August, the report is definitely worth another look. Below are the ten recommendations included in Well Within Reach: America's New Transportation Agenda. You can read the entire report at http://web1.millercenter.org/conferences/report/conf_2009_transportation.pdf.
1. Stop the bleeding - Congress must address the immediate crisis in transportation funding.
2. Beyond the gas tax – Future funding mechanisms should not depend primarily on fossil-fuel consumption, which the government is actively seeking to discourage through a number of other policies, to keep up with transportation investment needs.
3. Jobs for the future, not just for today – Future stimulus spending should be directed to those transportation projects that will deliver the greatest returns in terms of future U.S. competitiveness, economic growth, and jobs.
4. Pass the power, please – Clarify federal decision-making power and enhance the decision-making power of states, localities, and metropolitan-planning organizations.
5. Adopt a capital budget – The federal government should adopt accounting methods that recognize expenditures on transportation infrastructure as investments and take into account future returns on those investments.
6. Connect the dots – Adopt an integrated approach to transportation planning that includes freight and goods movement and stresses intermodal connectivity.
7. Getting Americans home in time for dinner – Find more effective ways of reducing urban congestion.
8. It’s all about leveraging – Encourage public-private partnerships while also improving oversight of such partnerships.
9. Deliver transportation investments on time – Reform project planning, review, and permitting processes to speed actual implementation.
10. Build a foundation for informed policy – Better and more timely data are essential to measure progress toward defined goals and objectives and to improve the performance of the nation’s transportation systems.
The report is based on the biennial David R. Goode National Transportation Policy Conference. More information is available at http://millercenter.org/conferences/2013/transportation.