Wednesday, June 23, 2010

New NTPP Report Released

This afternoon NTPP released its latest report, Transitioning to a Performance-Based Federal Surface Transportation Policy.

Drawn from the conversations of a workshop that convened leaders in the transportation field, the report identifies a number of actions that should be taken immediately to effectively transition to a performance-based transportation framework. The next step actions include: conducting baseline inventory and assessment of current data collection capacities, investing in systems that help establish performance metrics and data collection techniques, developing performance measures in areas of safety and asset management, and applying national goals and performance measures to existing transportation programs. The report explores the importance of federal performance measures, the need to incentivize performance, and the need for collaboration across federal, state and local agencies moving legislative action forward.

Check out this and other NTPP reports here.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Considering Freight Transportation...

Emil Frankel, Director of Transportation Policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center posted a blog entry on the National Journal’s Expert Transportation blog.

The topic of the blog discussion was the debate about the role of truck transportation in moving freight. Secretary Ray LaHood was recently accused of wanting to take trucks off the road. This week’s blog question asked specifically, “what is in trucking’s future?”

Check out Emil’s entry and other responses here. Emil makes the point that the debate should not be about preferring one mode over another, but rather achieving a balanced intermodal freight transportation system where investment of limited resources lead to the most cost-effective solutions.

High Speed Rail

In New York, State Senator Malcolm Smith is pushing for a high speed rail between Albany and New York City. He argues that a high speed rail project would create jobs, improve the environment, and “bring the state together.” But what sort of planning and project evaluation did this project undergo? Would high speed rail foster economic growth over other modes? What are going to be the sources of revenue? What goals does high speed rail help attain other than “bringing the state together?”

These are the types of questions that the NTPP believes should be contemplated and answered in the planning stage. Rather than simply working towards constructing a high speed line, NTPP proposes that metropolitan regions should analyze what transportation projects would help them attain distinct goals like increased economic capacity, metropolitan accessibility, and national connectivity. So while the idea of high speed rail in New York sounds great, would the huge sums of money necessary to build and maintain that line be better spent on infrastructure improvements or driver education programs?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Susan Demas Op-Ed Article

On June 3, the Mackinac Policy Conference forum was held in Detroit and featured seven gubernatorial candidates. Transportation issues, specifically the gas tax and the Detroit-Windsor bridge (DRIC), took center stage at the forum and were debated by the candidates. In an op-ed this week by Susan Demas of the Michigan Information & Research Service, Ms. Demas argues that all seven of the candidates demonstrated a clear lack of understanding of Michigan’s transportation systems and were unwilling to raise the gas tax for maintenance revenues.

This lack of understanding on behalf of the gubernatorial candidates is a major impediment to achieve NTPP’s vision of a national transportation policy that is performance driven and achieves certain goals like stimulating economic growth, making transportation safer, and providing access to jobs, labor, and other activities. Therefore, until state leaders grasp the ideas espoused by NTPP that a transportation policy goes far beyond getting people from “A” to “B”, we will again be stuck with an inefficient and wasteful federal transportation policy.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Emil Frankel in the Financial Times

Emil Frankel, Director of Transportation Policy for the National Transportation Policy Project, was recently quoted in a Financial Times article “US deals with the politics of recovery”. In the article, Mr. Frankel argues that a greater emphasis should be placed on how federal funds “perform” as evidenced by how well the funds generate economic activity.

This emphasis on performance is at the core of NTPP’s vision for federal transportation policy reform. Implementing federal transportation policy that aims to foster economic growth, among other national goals, will ensure wasteful or unnecessary projects are replaced with investments that encourage long-term, sustainable economic growth across the nation.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What Do You Think of USDOT’s Draft Strategic Plan?

Emil Frankel, Director of Transportation Policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center posted his latest blog entry on the National Journal’s Expert Transportation blog.

The topic of the blog discussion was the recently released U.S. Department of Transportation Draft Strategic Plan, Transportation for a New Generation.

Blog expert respondents were asked, “What Do You Think of DOT’s Draft Strategic Plan?” Check out Emil’s entry and other responses here.