Performance Measurement

Evaluating the performance of state programs has become more important than ever. Despite shrinking revenues, states are being bombarded with greater demand for services. Citizens not only want increased access to programs, but also expect these programs to be run efficiently. At this intersection of demand, limited resources and the watchful eyes of taxpayers sits the policymaker or agency administrator trying to decide how best to move forward. Measuring performance and using performance data to strategically place resources are key to implementing the accountable, transparent and results-focused governance policies that citizens demand. This session educated conference attendees on how “Results First” works and why using this approach to policy decision-making can lead to better, more efficient use of scarce state dollars.

Do you know how much bang for the buck your state is getting from the money it spends?

That’s an important question to answer, said Gary VanLandingham, director of the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative. He spoke during Thursday’s “Results First—Cost-Benefit Approaches to State Policymaking.”

I have a new Capitol Research brief out this week looking at the “Changing Face of Transportation Revenues.” In it, I talk with university research professors and other transportation experts about the strategies states have pursued this year to fund transportation investment. In honor of the report’s release, I thought I’d pass along a few updates on what’s happening in a few other states. I also have updates below on tolling, public private partnerships, infrastructure conditions and performance measurement.

Interstate 70 is a major artery through the nation’s mid-section that extends from Utah to Maryland. The halfway point on that journey lies somewhere near Kansas City, the site of the 2013 CSG National Conference. Like a lot of the nation’s aging infrastructure, I-70 needs to be rebuilt to better serve today’s transportation needs, said Dave Nichols, director of the Missouri Department of Transportation—or MoDOT— who will speak Sept. 20 at a session hosted by the CSG Transportation Public Policy Committee. But like a lot of other states, Missouri is struggling to determine where the dollars to do that will come from, even as MoDOT has made significant strides in recent years to convince Missourians their tax dollars that go to transportation are being well spent.

As state leaders continue their search for better, more efficient ways of doing business, a few strategies that stand out have emerged in recent years. One strategy—using an evidence-based, rigorous cost-benefit model to make policy decisions—is being put into place in a number of states thanks to the efforts of the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative. To help state policymakers learn more about the Results First initiative, The Council of State Governments will hold a special half-day, invitation-only information session in conjunction with CSG’s 2013 National Conference in Kansas City from 8 a.m. to noon Thursday, Sept. 19.

Washington, like many states in the 1990s, was grappling with juvenile crime.A new program known as Functional Family Therapy reduced recidivism among those juveniles by 22 percent and cost the state about $3,200 for every juvenile served. 

The Pew-MacArthur Results First initiative, a project of The Pew Charitable Trusts and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, works with states to implement an innovative cost-benefit analysis approach to policy evaluation that helps them invest in policies and programs that are proven to work. This webinar takes a look at how Results First works and why using this approach to policy decision-making can lead to better, more efficient use of scarce state dollars while simultaneously ensuring that outcome goals are being met or exceeded.

The Pew-MacArthur Results First initiative, a project of The Pew Charitable Trusts and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, works with states to implement an innovative cost-benefit analysis approach to policy evaluation that helps them invest in policies and programs that are proven to work. This webinar takes a look at how Results First works and why using this approach to policy decision-making can lead to better, more efficient use of scarce state dollars while simultaneously ensuring that outcome goals are being met or exceeded.

As state leaders continue their search for better, more efficient ways of doing business, a few strategies have emerged. Several states are putting one strategy into place—using an evidence-based, rigorous cost-benefit model to make policy decisions—thanks to the efforts of The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative. The initiative will be discussed during a webinar at 3 p.m. EDT Tuesday, May 28.

I have an article appearing in this week’s Capitol Ideas electronic newsletter that looks at some of the issues discussed January 13-17 at the Transportation Research Board’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. The gathering brought together more than 10,000 transportation professionals from around the world, including many officials who focus on transportation policy at the federal, state and local levels. As usual there was plenty more that happened during the five-day meeting than I had space to recount in the article. So here’s a roundup of additional comments from a variety of speakers on a variety of topics including MAP-21’s focus on performance measurement, efforts to accelerate project delivery, what MAP-21’s expansion of the TIFIA program will mean for states, how federal restrictions on tolling might need to change to allow states to meet their infrastructure needs, and why many expect federal transportation programs could see cuts well before MAP-21 expires in 2014.

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