Transportation funding a high priority
Consistently, if you ask the public to rank areas of concern, issues related to transportation will be at the top of the list. Also, I have found in my recent travels around the U.S. and Canada that transportation is one of the dominant areas of discussion among public works officials. For these reasons, the APWA Government Affairs Committee legislative priorities for 2000 include the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) implementation, reauthorization of the Surface Transportation Act, and full funding for transportation programs. In addition, the Rebuild America Coalition included transportation funding as one of its top priorities for 2000.
Therefore, as TEA-21 begins to wind down, it is important that APWA continues its role as a player involved in the reauthorization of the new Surface Transportation Act. The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991 ushered in a new era in transportation funding. ISTEA and its successor, TEA-21, not only provided more funding, but also allowed more flexibility to state and local governments in how the funds are spent. APWA is fortunate that one of our most successful partnerships is with the Federal Highway Administration. This partnership will provide us with the opportunity to be involved at the earliest stages of the Surface Transportation Act Reauthorization, a major source of transportation funding for our member agencies.
Transportation funding not the only issue
Because so much emphasis is put on transportation funding, there is a tendency to forget the purpose of the funding. This issue of the Reporter looks at how our transportation dollars are spent. In order to maintain our credibility with the public, they need to be assured that we are effectively and efficiently spending their tax dollars on improving and maintaining our transportation system. Also included are articles on traffic calming, high speed ground transportation, and traffic control and signage. In addition, there are two articles dealing with transportation safety issues. Statistics from these articles, showing the high number of transportation-related fatalities, further emphasize the need for continued improvement in transportation safety practices.
Projects of the year selected
This issue of the Reporter also highlights the top public works projects of the year in five categories. The categories are structures, environment, disaster or emergency construction/repair, historical restoration/preservation, and transportation. The projects selected recognize the achievements of the public works community over the past year. These awards not only highlight the excellence of the work being done by the public works community, but also provide an opportunity to make the citizens of our communities aware of that work. Agencies, consultants and contractors will be recognized for their achievements at the APWA Congress in Louisville.