Thursday, September 8, 2011

Reauthorization - National Organizations Talk Transportation Investment

There's an uptick in reauthoriztion talk due to the impending Sept. 30 deadline and whether the old transportation authorization, SAFETEA-LU, will continue to be extended as is - a "clean" extension. A further question is whether a short-term extension will be followed by a reauthorization.

National organizations are advocating for a reauthorization. Their priorities have generally remained the same in the last couple of years. This is what they are saying to the public and to their members.

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
AASHTO supports President Obama's position to extend SAFETEA-LU to "as a prelude to completing a new reauthorization bill." AASHTO's reauthorization recommendations include doubling the use of transit by 2030, encouraging more efficient land use, streamlining transportation programs, and increasing investment in highways, transit and intercity passenger rail. On AASHTO's homepage, it is asking Congress to provide "[f]lexibility to enable states to get the most value for each dollar; [c]hanges in [the] law so we can deliver projects faster; [and f]inancial tools as a supplement to our dollars."
[Bike with bread in Hood River, Oregon.]

National Association of Regional Councils

NARC urges Congress to "pass a clean, long-term authorization extension of both the current federal-aid surface transportation programs (highways and transit) and the continued collection of federal fuel taxes." Economic stability and jobs are cited as the reasons for Congress to act now.

Smart Growth America is basically sending out the same message as NARC, with a warning that if Congress does not act "no federal funds for roads, bridge repair, or transportation options; thousands of American workers facing halts in work or layoffs; a loss of $1 billion in just 10 days."
[San Luis Obispo Amtrak station in California. Photograph taken from the Coast Starlight train.]

Community Transportation Association of America

CTAA is noting the redefining of infrastructure to include transit vehicles and workers. Due to the consensus in Congress that we should not slight transportation infrastructure, CTAA is urging transit and transportation providers that "we must keep the infrastructure angle primary in our communications."

American Public Transportation Association

APTA released a public service television spot with Presidents Clinton and Reagon declaring the importance of transportation. The message requests that people tell Congress to pass a robust six-year transportation reauthorization. The ad presently appears on APTA's homepage. APTA is also talking about transportation investment as a means to preserve and create jobs.

Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations
AMPO succinctly described the current House plans for a six-year reauthorization and the Senate two-year version, which has a $12 billion funding gap. AMPO also explains the mechanics of the Budget Control Act and the House plan to limit transportation spending to the amount of gas-tax receipts.

A summary of what is going on in Congress concerning reauthorization and appropriations appears in yesterday's edition of NRC Capitol Clips.

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