U.S. DOT offers six-point plan to fight congestion
Director of Government Affairs
APWA Washington Office
In a letter accompanying a new national plan to reduce congestion, then-U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta stated that "congestion is not a fact of life...not a scientific mystery, nor is it an uncontrollable force. Congestion results from poor policy choices and a failure to separate solutions that are effective from those that are not."
The nation's growing congestion problems, whether on the road, in the air or at the seaport, continue to be a major frustration for just about anyone who relies on transportation for commerce, commuting, leisure travel or personal needs.
In response, Mineta unveiled a new U.S. Department of Transportation blueprint for federal, state and local officials, a six-point plan aimed at providing solutions and policy options to address transportation gridlock, which costs the United States an estimated $200 billion annually.
The new plan is called a National Strategy to Reduce Congestion on America's Transportation Network. In it, the agency outlines the costs, trends and future impact of congestion on the economy and quality of life, noting that highway congestion is on the rise and that it is spreading to suburban and rural America.
The Six-Point Plan
The agency's six-point plan represents areas of emphasis it says show potential for short-term and long-term congestion reduction. They include urban congestion relief, private sector investment, operational and technological improvements, multi-state, multi-use transportation corridors, and freight and aviation sector congestion relief.
Following are the six points:
Relieve urban congestion. The Department will seek to enter Urban Partnership Agreements with model cities, pursuant to which the cities and Department will commit to the following actions:
Unleash private sector investment resources. The Department will work to reduce or remove barriers to private sector investment in the construction, ownership and operation of transportation infrastructure by:
Promote operational and technological improvements. The Department will work to advance low-cost operational and technological improvements that increase information dissemination and incident response capabilities by:
Establish a "Corridors of the Future" competition. The Department will accelerate the development of multi-state, multi-use transportation corridors by:
Target major freight bottlenecks and expand freight policy outreach. The Department will address congestion in the nation's freight system by:
Accelerate major aviation capacity projects and provide a future funding framework. The Department will address congestion in the aviation system by:
The full report is available at http://isddc.dot.gov/OLPFiles/OST/012988.pdf.
Jim Fahey can be reached at (202) 218-6730 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Government Affairs Committee member Dore briefs congressional staffers about rural transportation needs
Manager of Media Affairs
APWA Washington Office
Longer, sun-filled days during summer months inspire many family vacations and road trips, even with characteristically higher gas prices. For Greg Dore, Road Commissioner in Skowhegan, Maine, and member of the APWA Government Affairs Committee and Small Cities/Rural Communities Forum, an increase of roadway users and insufficient gas tax revenue make road maintenance a difficult task. He discussed how transportation affects rural economics during an APWA-sponsored Congressional Briefing on June 15 in Washington, D.C.
|Skowhegan, Maine, Road Commissioner Greg Dore visited Washington to brief congressional staff about the economic effects of rural transportation issues. Dore serves on the APWA Government Affairs Committee.|
"People are driving farther, the purchasing power of the gas tax is lower and roads cost more to maintain," said Dore. "In rural America there is a growing backlog of transportation needs which are put off because of a lack of funding. Unfortunately, putting the projects off now means they will ultimately cost more in the future."
According to Dore, the gas tax, a per-gallon charge which is paid into the Highway Trust Fund, is not keeping pace with road maintenance costs and the effects of inflation. Contributing factors include fuel-efficient and alternatively powered vehicles which require less gas, diminishing the amount of gas tax paid into the Trust Fund to help maintain roads.
"Federal funding levels for transportation need to remain up to keep pace with the varied and increasing rural transportation needs," said Dore.
APWA Congressional Briefings are one part of an awareness campaign to provide congressional staff with information about the role and needs of public works and infrastructure in local communities. APWA member experts brief staff members about issues ranging from transportation funding to emergency preparedness and clean water.
Becky Wickstrom can be reached at (202) 218-6736 or email@example.com.