Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), the new U.S. federal transportation law, has the following main goals:
- Infrastructure condition
- Congestion reduction
- System reliability
- Freight movement and economic vitality
- Environmental sustainability
- Reduced project delivery delays
As I write this column (2 February) the U.S. House Transportation Committee is debating changes in H.R. 3864, the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act, which will determine future federal transportation policy.
I am sorry to report that, Canada, my chosen country (I immigrated here in 1993), recently withdrew from the Kyoto Accord, which sets international climate change emission reduction targets. It’s worth noting that this decision was made by the ruling Conservative Party which received less than 40% of total votes, but the other four parties split the more progressive votes and are unable to form a coalition, resulting in federal policies that are far more politically conservative than the average Canadian would prefer.
An important current policy debate concerns whether the next U.S. federal surface transportation reauthorization should require spending on “enhancements,” which finance projects such as walkways, bike paths, highway landscaping and historic preservation. This issue receives considerable attention, despite the fact that enhancements represent less than 2% of total federal surface transportation expenditures, because it raises questions about future transport priorities, particularly the role of walking and cycling. In other words, should non-motorized modes be considered real transportation.
An important new book, Healthy, Equitable Transportation Policy: Recommendations and Research, and its summary report, The Transportation Prescription: Bold New Ideas for Healthy, Equitable Transportation Reform in America, were just published by the Convergence Partnership, a coalition that supports more rational and equitable health policy.
We have just published a new report, "Smart Transportation Economic Stimulation: Infrastructure Investments That Support Strategic Planning Objectives Provide True Economic Development" which discusses factors to consider when evaluating transportation economic stimulation strategies.
Economic stimulation is an important issue these days. Let’s be smart when choosing economic stimulation strategies.