A report issued today on Capitol Hill by the Americans for Transportation Mobility coalition (ATM) and National Chamber Foundation urges policymakers to become much more strategic in transportation infrastructure planning and investment. "If we do not," the report warns, "our transportation system will become a competitive disadvantage for U.S. industries and it will be harder to sustain the growth of our regions and the national economy."
The report – prepared for the coalition and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Foundation by Cambridge Systematics, Inc. – makes six recommendations for transportation policymakers and/or legislators:
· place greater emphasis on meeting regional mobility and economic needs;
· develop a national consensus among citizens, businesses and political leaders on the importance of infrastructure investment;
· give immediate attention to addressing the $3.7-billion shortfall facing the Highway Trust Fund in FY 2009;
· focus greater emphasis on a national freight transportation program such as ARTBA’s proposed "Critical Commerce Corridors" plan;
· increase public investment – from all sources and levels of government;
· and increase use of financing and credit options including tax credit and public/private partnerships to leverage as much as $200 billion in private capital for transportation projects.
The report said there is a challenge "for the public and private sectors to find effective institutional and financing approaches to deal with these major Interstate corridors and bottlenecks. Few states can afford the cost of fixing a major bottleneck alone, and no mechanism presently exists for a single state to share the benefits, costs and risks of a major project among [neighboring states]."
ATM is a national coalition working to call attention to the current demands and future needs facing our transportation infrastructure system that represents over 400 transportation users, led by a management committee including ARTBA, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other industry associations.