Public Transportation

There were lots of transportation-related headlines to take away from Tuesday’s election: The chairman of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee going down to defeat and what it might mean for authorization legislation… The future of high-speed rail put in doubt by the election of three new Republican governors opposed to rail projects… And a somewhat mixed message from voters on revenues for transportation. Although it will likely take a long time to sort it all out, here are some initial thoughts.

Last week I had the pleasure to speak at a conference on sustainable transportation hosted by the organization Women in Government in Newport, Rhode Island. Thirty-two state legislators representing 20 states attended the forum and heard from a number of distinguished experts on such topics as federal and state transportation funding, complete streets programs, commuter transportation, community design and integrating transportation networks to improve mobility and spur economic development. Here’s a rundown of what participants heard at the conference along with some links to resources that may be useful in setting your state’s sustainable transportation goals.

Despite increased ridership, clear benefits to the environment and traffic congestion mitigation, public transportation continues to face financial struggles and cuts.  But some states are turning to alternative financing mechanisms to fund  it.

This report examines the success of states in implementing highway spending from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. It focuses on four areas that were emphasized during the implementation process: the speed with which states were able to dole out stimulus dollars and get projects up and running, the focus of the projects themselves, accountability and transparency initiatives, and the impact of the stimulus spending on job creation and other indicators. The report is drawn from federal and state government reports and news accounts, as well as interviews with state stimulus officials.

Suggested State Legislation: This Act requires bicycle and pedestrian ways be included when planning transportation facilities, particularly within one mile of an urban area. The Act requires the state department of transportation establish design and construction standards for bicycle and pedestrian ways.

Pages