Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Next Federal Surface Transportation Program

NOTE: We've moved! Visit us at the California High Speed Rail Blog.






Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN)


Rep. John Mica (R-FL)


Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR)


Rep. John Duncan Jr. (R-TN)
On Friday, chairman Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN) and ranking member Rep. John Mica (R-FL) of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure issued a press release and held a news conference on their blueprint for the next federal surface transportation program, described in a new committee report. They were joined by chairman Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and ranking member John Duncan Jr. (R-TN) of the subcommittee on Highways and Transit.

The event represents the kick-off for drafting the next iteration of the surface transportation bill, which typically sets priorities and secures funding for public works projects for a period of 5-6 years. Traditionally, it has also been a vehicle for members of Congress to "bring home the bacon" to their districts. This time, Oberstar and his colleagues want to use the opportunity to move away from prescribing specific projects (aka earmark pork) and toward a meritocratic system in which USDOT is instructed to evaluate competing grant applications. Those will have to be integrated into six-year strategic plans developed by the department and its counterparts at the state level, with annual performance metrics for each major project or program of smaller ones. It remains to be seen if members of the full House and Senate will be prepared to support this new philosophy.

In the hope that they will, the report details substantial reorganization objectives for USDOT such that it can execute evaluate programs and award grants according to legally binding procedures. For example, it calls for a new infrastructure bank within USDOT endowed with at least $50 billion for the six-year period that the new bill is supposed to cover. This money would be used to support strategic, sustainable investments in transportation systems, specifically High Speed Rail and (connecting) local transit. This would segregate public transportation funding from that reserved for highways, at least at the federal level. This new mechanism could essentially solve the federal component of funding California's HSR project. In addition, there would be a new Office of Project Expediting and also an Office of Livability, presumably charged with enforcing appropriate environmental mitigation for affected residents.

Secr. of Transportation Ray LaHood would like to focus his department on executing oversight of stimulus-related projects. He therefore asked Rep. Oberstar to extend current arrangements for 18 months by plugging a growing hole of at least $13 billion in the Highway Trust fund. However, Oberstar and his colleagues are unwilling to wait because they have concluded that the current system is broken.

The report's authors claim that over the past 30 years, many states simply haven't stepped up to the plate to fund their 20% of highway projects, never mind the 50% required until recently for rail and transit projects. As a result, available federal funds were not fully utilized. Perhaps the unspoken fear is that with the 2010 midterms approaching and the 2012 presidential election after that, any delay would make it even more difficult to pass legislation for a root-and-branch reorganization of USDOT. Of course, much the same is true of health care reform, financial re-regulation etc. The President's domestic agenda is already full, yet transportation infrastructure is a high priority in Congress.

The committee report calls for a total spending volume of $500 billion through 2015, of which 10% would go into the aforementioned infrastructure bank. Federal and state governments combined currently spend around $85 billion a year on transportation infrastructure, a sum the committee says is too small to maintain and expand the nation's aging systems and structures. It would like to see the number ramped up to $225 billion and then held at that level for the next 50 years. To fund the federal portion of this substantial expansion, the report calls for both federal and state gas taxes to be roughly doubled. Republicans in particular will presumably resist legislative efforts to implement that, though they may soon face a filibuster-proof Democratic majority in the US Senate.

Note that raising gas taxes to help fund rail and transit infrastructure construction is reasonable in that it reduces the pressure to keep adding lane-miles highways which are more expensive per passenger-mile of capacity, require far more land and lock in the country's arguably excessive dependence on oil.


by Rafael

45 comments:

Le Shuttle said...

So I am planning a trip with the family from the SF Bay Area to Legoland this summer and another trip to Las Vegas/Southwest in October. We have four kids so the plane is expensive and a real pain. Renting a car big enough for us is also a problem when we get there. So I am wondering if we have considered a Le Shuttle/Autotrain version. Wouldn't have to be as fast but point to point would be huge. Maybe just a couple load/unload points that have the capacity, Gilroy? Merced? LA Basin? Maybe even the SF/LA maintenance centers? And eventually Vegas. I know there are a lot of concerns about carrying freight and wearing out the tracks, but maybe this would still be light enough. I have never used either system but it sure seems like a good idea. Any thoughts?

jim said...

I'm for full utilization of the hsr corridor. passenger, freight, auto train, and poste. It's a good transportation core starter system with unlimited potential. Nothing should be ruled out.

Rafael said...

@ LeShuttle -

as long as the axle load is below 17 metric tons, an autotrain could run on HSR tracks. Eurotunnel already runs them through the Channel Tunnel as a shuttle service competing with ferries.

However, while Eurotunnel shares the tunnel tracks with Eurostar, the former run at top speeds of ~100mph on them. It might be possible to run them at higher speed over flat terrain, though no-one has ever considered how to do it safely. The issue simply hasn't come up in European operations.

Customers usually remain in their motor vehicles for the entire 35-minute trip, though they are free to step out of them. There are restrooms at either end of the train, but you may need to walk through up to 12 rail cars to reach them. This arrangement would be impractical for a long journey, e.g. SF-Anaheim.

Note that there is an Amtrak autotrain that runs from near DC to near Orlando, at standard speed and on freight tracks.

In principle, such a train could also run on the UPRR central coast line. The main problem is that UPRR maintains and operates it such that passenger service is both extremely slow and frequently suffers massive delays (cp. Coast Starlate).

jim said...

One reason auto train on the east coast has such a high demand is that in addition to the higher population concentrations and obvious major tourist Florida vacation destinations - is that on the east coast you have a large number of people who live half the year up north and winter in FLA. - for durations that make renting a car impractical. They want to essential "ship" the family car for the duration. while avoiding the 95. a slow auto train between the bay and LA would not have the demand considering the expense. As for hsr,carrying cars, I'd like to see the option available at a premium charge to increase revenue but I think the State would frown on it as they seem to have a goal of gradually forcing people out of their cars by making driving inconvenient and expensive. There may be a business demand for it though - rental car companies redistributing their car or something. who knows. Might as well do something to generate some premium revenue between the hours between 10pm and 6am. late night freight service with some limited red eye cheap seats for the budget minded - another 25 percent off your ticket if you volunteer to help unload. ;-)

jim said...

Track sharing - this guy says that in germany high speed trains share tracks with street cars. Does that mean ca hsr can run up Market and out to the beach? Now that would be convenient.

YESONHSR said...

BACK to Topic...50billion is nothing what we just spent to kick the shit of Iraq..And what did it prove..Boxer better get her shit together..Im getting sick of that Barbie from Marin..she remindes me of the rich nimby pigs in Menlo Park/Palo Alto..
Call her if you live here in Cali and tell here I just did

jim said...

I think Boxer has done a great job for california overall. She has a good voting record on transportation. Nothing in Washington ever seems to go fast enough though.

YESONHSR said...

Well tell her Jim..you what a commitment to HSR..not just extra parking at Nordstroms in Marin

Alon Levy said...

Jim, German trains don't run on streetcar tracks. I think ICE trains share tracks with suburban trains near the major cities, just like TGV trains. ICE trains also share tracks with slower intercity trains a lot, which is why average ICE speeds are so much slower than average Shinkansen or TGV speeds.

Andre Peretti said...

There is a joint venture called EURO CAREX aiming to replace planes with high speed trains. The main participants are FedEx, UPS, LaPoste, Air France Cargo and Aéroports de Paris. These trains will be different from the yellow TGVs currently operated by LaPoste and FedEx between Paris and Lyon. The wagons will be designed to carry standard air freight containers. They will use the high speed lines mostly during the night.
A special air-rail terminal will be built at Paris CDG, which will eventually become CAREX's European hub. The first CAREX trains are expected to run in 2012. The main hurdles are not technical or financial, but political. Each country has its own set of regulations concerning freight, and these will have to be harmonised in order to allow seamless border crossing. A problem unknown in the U.S.
Why couldn't FedEx and UPS do in California what they can do in France?

Rafael said...

@ Andre Peretti -

cp also the previous post on High Speed Cargo. Afaik, Euro Carex will not transport any cars.

BruceMcF said...

HSR can run out onto regular passenger rail corridors, and tram-trains are streetcars designed to also operate on regular passenger rail corridors ... and since it was Germany where tram-trains were first developed, it would not be that surprising if there is some regular passenger rail corridor that sees both HSR and tram-trains.

Since even the newest generation of tram-trains only get up to 100km/h, I'd guess that the HSR gets to go first.

jim said...

@alon
I don't know who that guy in the interview was but I guess his point was that sharing tracks reduces costs - but he did actualy say "streetcar" which is ridiculous but does give one the image of Eurostar slinking up and down the hills on the way through the Sunset.

@yeson hsr My understanding is that Boxer is behind ca hsr and not only that but she has voted in favor of all the rail funding that has come along. A lot of people get upset with both Baoxer and Feinsein at times because they aren't always doing exactly what we want them to do but the problem is that they represent ALL of california and California is a huge place with a multitude of interests and issues. They have a lot to work on. Consider al of the problems here from immigration, ( and try to find californians who agree on what to do) to environmental concerns, and labor concerns, cetnral valley farmers, water, flood control, homeland security, ports, and on and on. The very rural areas, the urban areas, and the vast middle. So someone is always going to be disappointed. When I was younger I used to think Feinstein was too conservative but now I realize she isn't there to run the state based on San Francisco values but to serve all of california. You have to consider the taxpayers and the business climate, the military, and the list goes on. They are doing something right or Californians wouldn't re elect them.

--I do hope they use the slow time from 10pm to 5 am to move freight/poste/etc That's revenue generating. I'm sure they can get contracts with UPS FEDEX etc to carry bulk overnight shipments, which would save trucking and/or air costs for those companies.

Andre Peretti said...

@Rafael
I know Carex isn't meant to transport cars. Car trains have existed for decades in France but have never caught on with the general public. The SNCF "train-auto-couchettes" (overnight sleeper+autos) is mostly used by elderly people. Most families prefer to drive and pay the highway tolls, which are expensive because most major highways are privately built and operated.
In my opinion, car trains will always remain marginal.

Adirondacker said...

I'm sure they can get contracts with UPS FEDEX etc to carry bulk overnight shipments, which would save trucking and/or air costs for those companies.

They already are, search YouTube for "UPS train" using the quote marks. Lots of stuff comes up. Some of them show BNSF or UP trains.

This isn't a new idea invented in France. It was done here in the States. Company names I'm sure you recognize, two of the big ones were Wells Fargo and American Express.

BruceMcF said...

jim said...
"I don't know who that guy in the interview was but I guess his point was that sharing tracks reduces costs - but he did actualy say "streetcar" which is ridiculous but does give one the image of Eurostar slinking up and down the hills on the way through the Sunset."

That would definitely be a tram-train, which allows the legacy short tramlines in smaller cities and towns to be extended into direct services out into the suburbs by running out onto the regular rail corridor, overcoming the problem of the transfer between a suburban commuter service and a local streetcar line cutting into ridership.

So it is, indeed, streetcars and HSR using the same track ... but in the regular rail corridor. The tram-train (aka "Rapid Streetcar") normally has the tramline (streetcar line) to itself.

This is, of course, a transport option that the US regulatory regime needs to be able to support directly, rather than through endless project specific waivers and exceptions. But while the Rapid Streetcar might be using a low frequency Emerging/Regional HSR corridor, it would never be found on an Express HSR corridor.

jim said...

well if they can get hsr to stop at my muni platform at 8th and market then I won't have to walk 6 blocks to tbt. I'm for that.

jim said...

- the surface "F" line stop please not the underground metro platform - ( the escalators only go one way here so the F market stop is more convenient.) When can I expect service to begin?

Pat Lynch said...

I did the interview with Keith Jones of USR Corp., which is involved with the California HSR project. He had ta a presentation last week in Little Rock for the joint Texas High Speed Rail Corp. and National Intermodal Steering Committee meeting.

Yes, Keith did say that streetcars do share the same tracks in parts of Germany and have been doing so for 20 years without incident.

There is extensive coverage of the conference, including eight video interviews of which Keith Jones is one, on the Trains for America blog.

http://trains4america.wordpress.com/

Thanks,
Pat Lynch

YesonHSR said...

Well.. maby I was too hard on Boxer..she has been very supportive of rail. I was refering to her also agreeing to an 18month delay of this bill.
I would love to see this in place as stated it would give CAHSR its full federal funding and no need for worry.
An 18month delay may change this bill for the worse..with the midterm elections results..maby not and by that time we are really going to need the big time money

BruceMcF said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
swing hanger said...

An example of HSR trains running on standard rails (slowly) is on the BLS single track line winding through Interlaken, Switzerland. A German ICE service from Frankfurt arrives four times daily.
http://www.bls.ch/images/content/infrastruktur/bauprojekte-interlaken-o.jpg

jim said...

Boxer's position probably has to do with making sure all the interests are on board with any major overhaul to how transportation funding is done. For better or worse, everyone has to protect their interests. Contractors, labor, states, counties, and all the various departments. Anytime we want something quickly, democracy becomes an inconvenience just like all the technical details.. Can't some one just write a check and get out there with a shovel and start digging please?

DBX said...

A big issue for the federal government to consider is that new rail development in the US basically stopped after the First World War when the federal government started massively subsidizing highways.

As a result, we have a rail network that matches 1920's population distribution and trade patterns. Very few capacity problems in the east or southeast, but a royal mess in the Midwest, southern Plains, Rocky Mountains and West. There is an urgent need for upgrades of general purpose rail as well as high speed throughout the western two-thirds of the country. California is a particularly glaring example; a state that is almost two thirds the area of France and almost two thirds the population but with only one quarter of the rail network. No wonder there's congestion.

Adirondacker said...

Very few capacity problems in the east

Yeah but ones we have are beauts. New England and Long Island don't have capacity problems because the freight can't get there. The southern most freight crossing of the Hudson river is in Selkirk NY, essentially a suburb of Albany. A container can be unloaded in Port Newark... where you can see Brooklyn. To get to Brooklyn it either has to go all the way to Selkirk on the west side of the Hudson, across the bridge and allllllll the way down the east side of the Hudson. Or it has to get on a car float - a ferry barge that takes freight cars across the harbor. Things go by truck.

As a result, we have a rail network that matches 1920's population distribution and trade patterns

There are times Easterners wished it did. They ripped up a lot of track since then. There's places where they built highway over short stretches - isolating the nice straight express freight tracks that passengers also used. Or just ripped it out. The Hudson Bergen Light Rail uses old railroad ROW in places. They could get right into the heart of downtown Newark... but the ROW was sold off and the bridge has been torn down. 100 years ago the trip between Hoboken and Buffalo was too slow to compete with other routes so they built a high speed bypass to Scranton. Torn up the track on that in the 80s. There's a bridge across the Hudson in Poughkeepsie that is structurally sound but they tore up the tracks leading up to it over the years. It's a hiking trail now. . .

jim said...

It seems that in other countries, they recognize the need for upgrading infrastructure from both a common sense and economic standpoint. In the Us we tend to be frozen in our tracks if anything costs money. People and businesses here can never get passed the price tag of anything. Just like they can never get passed the next payday, or the next quarter earnings.

jim said...

IS THIS GOOD OR BAD?

Capitol Hill is buzzing with the news: just moments ago, a new transportation bill was released, and the Obama administration is pushing Congress to pass a funding plan quickly. Why the rush?

Transportation funding is running out.

But we can't afford to keep throwing money at transportation agencies unable to show progress on the issues that matter to us all: Affordable ways to get around; alternatives to congestion; reducing our oil dependency; protecting the climate; safe and vibrant communities and access to jobs.

Tell Congress: No new money without a real, sustainable plan.

The National Highway Trust Fund - which pays for road work, bike and pedestrian facilities and transit projects - will run out of money in August.

With funds drying up, the pressure to throw more money at our problems is growing. Some in Congress are poised to take money from other needs to prop up the trust fund, which comes from gas taxes. They would prefer to go on spending our tax dollars without a real plan. But more money with no strings attached is not the answer.

The U.S. hasn't had a vision for transportation policy in decades. We've been trying to build our way out of a congested and inefficient system with no accountability and no actual plan to link our roads, trains, buses, bikeways and pedestrian-friendly streets.

The result? Longer, more frustrating, less safe and increasingly expensive commutes for all of us.

But now we have an opportunity for change. We must ensure that our country's transportation investments strengthen our economy, our environment and our health.

Tell your representative we need real reform before we throw more money at our problems.

Don't let Congress make the same mistakes it's made in the past. We must fund transportation, and we must do it right this time.

Thank you for your support at this crucial moment.

Sincerely,

Ilana Preuss
Outreach and Field Director
Transportation for America

jim said...

I'm confused. I can't keep tack of who wants to do what, who's for and against what, and which approach is the right one. Is the money coming or not?

Anonymous said...

Jim-
Yeah, not sure what transportation for america is talking about there. It sounds like they want a different funding mechanism but they're not sure what that is and so they just want people to call in and make some general unhelpful statement.

Devil's Advocate said...

@ Jim: "In the US we tend to be frozen in our tracks if anything costs money."

Well! That's the way it should be everywhere, especially if we are using taxpayers' money. I don't think government should throw money on pet projects unless they make sense. That would be a waste of resources that could be used on more impending projects.

I totally agree that the US needs to upgrade the freight rail transportation infrastructure. I'm not sure if sharing tracks with HSR would be feasible or even wise, but I'm sure there has to be a way to eliminate a lot of big rigs from the highways. They use lots of fuel (hence pollution), create a lot of traffic, require extra highway maintenance, and cause a lot of fatalities on the road as well.

The car shuttle idea could be actually a good idea for California (if feasible, I don't know). The reason why in Europe it hasn't caught on is because cars are rarely needed in the city. For example somebody that needs to go from Barcelona to Madrid, or Lyon to Paris, can rely on an excellent city transit system to get around once at the destination. A car is not really needed. In California the opposite is true. If I need to go to LA from the SFBA or the CV I'll probably need a car once I get there, because LA is very spread out and my destination may not be that close to the station (and everything is 100 miles away in LA). If I can transport my car on the train (at least in some trains), I might be able to save on the cost of rental. Obviously one has to consider whether the cost of shuttling the car is actually less than the rental but it could be, at least for those planning to stay away several days. Another thing to consider is also the extra time that the loading/downloading of cars would require. That might slow down the trains quite a bit, therefore i would be feasible only in few daily trains.

Alon Levy said...

DA, European vacation sites are thoroughly car-oriented. The French Riviera has one slow commuter rail line plus a few trams in Nice that miss all the tourist attractions. The ski sites I've seen in the Alps have no public transit at all. Euro Disney is transit-hostile if I remember correctly.

Tourism in general is a very transit-hostile activity. Tourists like to visit multiple attractions, which may be located away from the main job and retail centers. They often travel four to car and carry luggage, so that public transit is both less convenient and more expensive. Occasionally a tram might be a tourist attraction, as in New Orleans or San Francisco, but in those cases it's always a holdover from when it was useful for commuters, and most tourists still drive. The only transit-oriented tourist cities are those where the transit mostly serves locals, like New York or Paris.

BS said...

The bottom line is, its a sickening waste of money for any and all purposes, without accountability. So far California High speed rail gets an "F" on accountability, both for funds spent already, and for the promises they're making for the future federal, state and tax payer funds they'll spend in the future. How can they possibly hope to attract private investment - they're not running themselves like a business, they're running their business like a bum on the street looking for handouts. (No matter how sorry you feel for the guy, do you know where than $5 Bill you just gave the guy on the corner went? Food? Or?) Unless the federal government is writing them a blank check for 100% no questions asked- which would make Barack Obama look like a total fool - then California high speed rail needs to clean up its act, and start showing how and why its a good deal for California. So far, it sounds like they are planning on taking big humungous federal tax payer handouts with no plan (zero plan) for accountability. AGI? Bank Bailout? It looks like its all a big scam. Show us a viable plan, with real (not inflated) ridership projections, and real (not lowballed) cost projections. If its so great an idea, then why can't we get this?

Brandon in San Diego said...

^^^ And there is no one to blame except the govenator and legislative members that acted to postpone the $9.95 bond measure... about 2 or 3 times. If it had passed earlier, we could be seeing construction going on right now.

On the otherhand... the postponement may have served to leverage more federal funding than originally anticipated (perhaps replacing private sector funding that is/has dried up).

Anonymous said...

After today's DC accident I am sure you will see a hardened attitude at the FRA towards light railsets. It would appear that the DC cars had virtually no structural survivability. BART's aluminum beer can cars are probably even worse as they have crinkled under their own weight.

The CHSRA should avoid freight rail corridors and relocate to the I-5 and Grapevine route alignment and 101 route on the Peninsula.

Brandon in San Diego said...

^^^You're jumping the gun assuming what the National Transportation Safety Board will do. I look forward to the NTSB's investigation before guessing how they'll respond.

But yes, past NTSB comments were critical of the crash worthiness of Metro's Heavy Rail Subway Cars. (They are not 'light' but perhaps your comment was relative to HSR?)

For what it is worth, WMATA is no stranger to accidents. Poor and lax communications have been a problem in the past. That could be the problem today.

What I can tell from the incident is that the train on top of the other appeared to be on the normal side of the track; heading southbound into Washington DC. The one on the bottom was outbound, from what I can tell, and on the wrong track. Or, was it going the correct way, and stopped?

Either way, it was on a slight bend and the reaction time of the operator to stop may have been compromised.

Bad place to stop a train.

Did an operator blow a signal? Like what the Metrolink operator did earlier this year?

Questions questions questions... but it appears the initial focus will be on the cars themselves.

Spokker said...

I wish there were more train wrecks so we could ignore and accept them like automobile fatalities.

jim said...

Americans only value safety and human life up to a point. If it's (safety, quality, etc) too expensive, we take our chances and figure it'll happen to the other guy. If we spend too much paying taxes, wages, prices, for things like safety, quality, and so forth, then we'll have less money every month to spend on the lead soaked plastic crap from China the we can get at walmart for 9.99. I mean most of the subways don't crash very much, and it would cost a lot to make them totally safe. plus we don't need the nanny state worrying about our safety and taking away our right to die in a train wreck. Its a matter of priorities and we can decide what to do with our money better than the government.

Brandon in San Diego said...

And they're are tradeoffs... safety competes with effecient operations and utility of a service.

Anonymous said...

Washington DC metro crash article:

TRAIN CRASH

From the article you read

"These systems were supposed to make yesterday's crash impossible."



There has been plenty of writings here about positive train control and how these electronic marvels will allow better efficiency and safety, possibly eliminating the need for more structurally sound cars.

The thought of 200 MPS trains derailing or crashing blows the mind away.

DBX said...

@anonymous 9:41 PM; perhaps the Federal Railroad Administration should look at what happened in the UK at Great Heck, Yorkshire in 2001 if they want an idea of what properly designed lighter railcars can do in a crash. In a crash with a heavy freight train at a closing speed of more than 140 mph, triggered by an SUV dropping on the tracks from a freeway overpass, none of the British Rail Engineering Ltd. Mk IV cars were as badly damaged as the lead car on the following train on the Red Line. Pity BREL no longer exists thanks to Margaret Thatcher and John Major's misguided policies. But the Mk IV design, now owned as far as I know by Bombardier, is very much alive.

Here we have at WMATA a crash with a closing speed of probably one-third of what I just described, and the cars are opened up like tin cans.

The Great Heck crash involved an even higher closing speed than Amtrak's crash with Ricky Gates at Chase, MD in 1987 (108mph at impact), yet involved substantially fewer casualties -- even though the Mk IV is 20 tons lighter than an Amfleet.

The FRA must not allow this latest crash to make them retreat to cookie cutter regulations that don't work but simply add weight and restrict operations.

DBX said...

@Adirondacker -- I don't deny there are issues in the East, but what's happening in the Midwest, West and southern Plains is so much worse and so much more widespread.

Alon Levy said...

Anon, I wonder if your response to plane crashes is to outlaw flying planes.

Spokker said...

"The thought of 200 MPS trains derailing or crashing blows the mind away."

Why? A crash on a freeway at 80 MPH will burn up a mother and daughter just as good.

BruceMcF said...

@Brandon in SD, the front car was stopped, waiting for a platform at the next station.

@anony-mouse:
"There has been plenty of writings here about positive train control and how these electronic marvels will allow better efficiency and safety, possibly eliminating the need for more structurally sound cars."

Also writing about how this country engages in penny wise and dollar foolish policies with public transport. With the crash caused by one of the older trains that the NTSB argued should be replaced, which was two months past its date to have its brakes checked.

Also writing about how weight does not equal safety ... there are a number of light rail designs that are structurally safer than the heavy rail Metro subway.

Indeed, one of the advantages of a system like the HSR is that it can run at an operating surplus, so its safe operation is not subject to the the politicized false economies that beset our metropolitan transit systems.

Steve Davis said...

To clarify Transportation for America's position with the call-in day yesterday...

We're basically not getting in the middle of the debate over a 6-year vs. 18-month authorization, and we're not advocating one funding solution over another right now (though we have some suggestion in our Blueprint). We like the Oberstar bill and think it was a good start, but without clear measures for success and accountability, we don't think it has enough guarantees that it's going to accomplish what it sets out to do. So we were simply asking everyone to call during markup yesterday and let Congress know that it will be unacceptable to add any more money to transportation without some meaningful reforms to the system. No new money without reforms.