Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Paying for the Nation’s Transportation Infrastructure through Program Reform and User-Pay Mechanisms

When asked whether transportation funding is raised and spent in a way that reflects how we actually use the highway system Emil Frankel points out, in his latest National Journal blog entry, that the federal gasoline tax no longer provides a sustainable and adequate source of revenue for investment, nor does it serve as an adequate proxy for use.

Mr. Frankel points out that America's transportation system is currently under priced and over utilized. We need to consider certain costs and benefits that we don’t currently take into account when devising funding options. Improving user-pay funding mechanisms, accurately related to the full cost of providing transportation services and of maintaining and restoring the transportation infrastructure, is necessary.

Check out Emil’s full blog entry, as well as the entries and opinions of other leading transportation policy stakeholders, here.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

FREIGHT Act of 2010

The topic for this week’s National Journal blog was whether the Focusing Resources, Economic Investment, and Guidance to Help Transportation (FREIGHT) Act of 2010 will enhance the nation’s freight system.

Emil Frankel, Director of Policy for the NTPP, argues in his latest entry that the problems facing freight transportation are dealt with most efficiently when a broad, programmatic approach to transportation investment is employed. Through this lens, the NTPP views the issues plaguing freight transportation (i.e. increasing congestion, unreliable delivery times) as problems that reach beyond the freight mode and need to instead be dealt with across modal and agency lines.

Mr. Frankel argues that the FREIGHT Act could be strengthened by including, along with goals for economic growth, NTPP’s goals of accountability toward increasing national connectivity and metropolitan accessibility of investments. These goals would make any freight investment benefit the national transportation system as a whole rather than a particular region or state. Furthermore, the FREIGHT Act should include a mode-neutral freight fee in order to further tie funding to investments, enabling performance benchmarks to be met.

Read Emil’s blog post here.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

JayEtta Hecker WMATA Appointment

JayEtta Hecker, NTPP’s Director of Transportation Advocacy was recently appointed to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Governance Review Task Force. The task force is being convened to recommend improvements to WMATA’s governance structure. Along with other transportation experts, JayEtta will be serving on the task force with business leaders as well as former elected and appointed officials.

JayEtta’s appointment is featured in the Eno Foundation’s monthly newsletter, which can be found here. Ms. Hecker also serves as a member of the Eno Foundation Board of Advisors.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Transportation Equity

Joshua Schank, Director of Transportation Research for the Bipartisan Policy Center’s National Transportation Policy Project (NTPP), was recently a member of a transportation equity panel on HITN’s show Destination Casa Blanca.

The panel, which included Deron Lovaas from the NRDC and Geoff Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America, discussed how previous transportation investments have benefit the wealthier segments of the population while lower-income and minority communities have not reaped the rewards of transportation investments.

The NTPP advocates for transportation investments to be a “bottom-up” process. Instead of investing in particular projects and delivered mainly in the form of federal earmarks, federal investments should be held accountable to achieve distinct national goals, thereby creating a national transportation system that meets the needs of all citizens, regardless of whether they have access to a car.

Check out the highlights of the show here.