new Administration plan
Jul 31, 2008 11:11 AM
In unveiling the Bush Administration new plan for the Department of Transportation (DOT), the department's administrator said a clean and historic break with the past is needed, according to DOT information.
Mary E Peters said in a DOT news release: "Without a doubt, our federal approach to transportation is broken. And no amount of tweaking, adjusting, or adding new layers on top will make things better. It is time for a new, a different, and a better approach."
Peters said that central to any reform for transportation is finding new revenue sources to supplement what she said was the unpredictable and unsustainable gas tax, in order to fund maintenance and pay for new needed projects. She said the gas tax is an antiquated mechanism, underscored by the current climate of high gas prices. Americans are driving less and taking advantage of transit options, but less driving also results in less revenue for transit operations.
She said that more direct pricing options like tolling are needed, and states must be empowered to take advantage of the over $400 billion available worldwide for infrastructure investments from the private sector.
The plan also calls for a refocusing and redoubling of emphasis on safety, using a data and technology-driven approach that also gives states maximum flexibility to tackle their toughest safety challenges.
A renewed federal focus on maintaining and improving the Interstate highway system is another part of the plan. "Local leaders will have greater freedom and significantly more resources to fund new subways, bus routes, or highways as they choose, based on the needs of local commuters. instead of the dictates of Washington," Peters said.
As part of a focus on congestion, the plan would create a Metropolitan Innovation Fund that rewards cities willing to combine a mix of effective transit investments, dynamic pricing of highways, and new traffic technologies.
The reform plan also calls for greatly reducing over 102 federal transportation programs that have proliferated over the last two decades, replacing them with eight comprehensive, intermodal programs. that will help focus instead of dilute investments, and cut the dizzying red-tape forced upon local planners, she said.
A copy of the plan is available at fightgridlocknow.gov/
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