Sean Slone

Author Articles

This session offered both a federal and a state perspective on transportation finance and budgeting. Speakers from the U.S. Department of Transportation and New York State’s Department of Transportation took part in the forum. Jack Wells, Chief Economist for U.S. DOT, discussed America’s infrastructure needs, federal transportation programs, and what’s ahead for reauthorization and transportation finance. Stanley Gee, Acting Commissioner of the New York State DOT, gave an overview of his state’s transportation system, spoke about the current budget crisis and transportation funding crisis in the state, and discussed the painful choices being made in his department.

Automated toll collection at full highway speeds… traffic cameras… optimized traffic lights… roadway message signs… traveler information services. All are examples of intelligent transportation system technologies being implemented in many states that hold the promise of making travel safer, more efficient and less harmful to the environment. A new Capitol Research brief examines how these technologies and others on the horizon can help maximize the capacity of infrastructure, reduce the need for additional highway capacity, improve traffic flow, reduce congestion and emissions, collect real-time data to measure and improve transportation system performance, deliver more benefits at a lower cost compared to heftier investments to build more roads or expand existing roads, and save lives.

Intelligent transportation system technologies—everything from traffic cameras to real time road and traffic information lines—being implemented in many states hold the promise of making travel safer, more efficient and less impactful on the environment.

More than a year in the works, this report looks back on the implementation of the highway spending in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. It examines how states were able to successfully meet deadlines, fund road projects that made an impact on job creation and the nation’s infrastructure, and put in place unprecedented transparency and accountability measures. Included are interviews with state stimulus czars, state transportation officials and others who were on the front lines of the implementation process. The report also includes a series of charts that show where every state stood at various points in the process. The report received funding from CSG’s 21st Century Foundation. It can be read online at http://www.csg.org/policy/documents/Shovel_Ready_Projects.pdf

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.

Transportation is the second-leading source of greenhouse gas emissions and constitutes a key target in the battle against climate change. But by taking a proactive approach, states can moderate its effects and reduce its impacts.

Charging motorists on a per mile basis has gained some traction in recent years as a potential revenue mechanism to replace state and federal fuel taxes. Pilot projects to test VMT systems in many states are helping to define how they would work.

In 2009, the Obama administration announced a government partnership called the Sustainable Communities Initiative. But states and localities have for years led in trying to make communities more sustainable by instilling the principles of Smart Growth.

Nationwide marketing campaigns and state efforts to seek public input and build trust in transportation decision making are helping to galvanize support for the infrastructure investment many say America needs.

Despite the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, many states are falling short in providing needed investment in the nation's highways and bridges. But some states in 2009 had success in finding revenue sources to fund them.

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