Funding transportation infrastructure

On October 25, Robert Puentes of the Brookings Institution presented Congressional testimony on the funding of surface transportation infrastructure, "Not So Fast: Key Policy Considerations for Surface Transportation Investment Needs" (pdf, 11pp/64kB). His basic premise was that "we are a metropolitan nation," and "Unfortunately, our nation's transportation policy does not recognize the primacy of metropolitan areas..." Puentes saw three critical problems:
  • Spending is not targeted to achieve certain outcomes
  • There is little attention to reducing demand for spending
  • The system is not priced correctly
In his testimony, Puentes referred to a publication of the U.S. Dept. of Transportation (DOT), 2006 Status of the Nation's Highways, Bridges, and Transit: Conditions and Performance (html) (pdf, 436pp/7.5MB). From the report's Introduction:
This document is intended to provide decision makers with an objective appraisal of the physical conditions, operational performance, and financing mechanisms of highways, bridges, and transit systems based both on the current state of these systems and on the projected future state of these systems under a set of alternative future investment scenarios.

Relevant to this subject area are two commissions connected to DOT: the National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission and National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission.

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