Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Policies and Funding for Rural and Coordinated Transportation Options

Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA)
CTAA has on its homepage a collection of materials that declare the benefits of rural transportation services, including rural public transit, and an explanation of the history and scope of Medicaid's non-emergency transportation (NEMT) benefit.

American Bus Association
ABA responds to the Obama Administration's recommendation for funding to develop a high-speed rail network with a reminder that intercity bus travel is a far less expensive form of long-distance publicly-available transportation.

Quoting from the ABA publication, the Insider, the association declares:
"We're asking lawmakers to invest in motorcoach transportation," said ABA President and CEO, Peter J. Pantuso, CTIS. "Even under the best circumstances, a high-speed rail network will not become a reality for years. Motorcoaches are here today. We cost a tiny fraction of what high-speed rail will cost. We are environmentally friendly, and we provide service to rural Americans that high-speed rail will never be able to reach. When you look at all of that, it just makes sense to go with the motorcoach."

The Insider article emphasizes the importance of motorcoach service to rural Americans. Bus service still covers a much greater proportion of rural residents than current or projected train lines.

Detailed Look at Coordination of Government Programs

In his NRC Capitol Clips post on March 4, Chris Zeilinger, the Director of the National Resource Center for Human Service Transportation Coordination (NRC), does a terrific job of summarizing and examining the findings of the recent Government Accountability Office report, Opportunities to Reduce Potential Duplication in Government Programs, Save Tax Dollars, and Enhance Revenue. The blog finds in the report strong evidence to support coordination of government services. The report is well worth reading and transportation coordination is addressed at pages 48-50, which will appear as 53-55 in your pdf toolbar, and discussion of coordination for the transportation-challenged appears at 134-138 (appearing as 139-143).

Speaking of coordination, I read an interesting opinion blog in the New York Times online edition about coordination to improve education for low-performing public school systems. Coming Together to Give Schools a Boost talks about strong coordinating organizations and partners with clear goals and a focus on performance measures. I will not say that the strategies mentioned should be transferred to transit and transportation services, but the model is worth considering for its comprehensiveness and the honest assessment of its proponents that new methods were needed.

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