The Blueprint for ISTEA Reauthorization: 25 Ways to Make Transportation Work

The following points are taken from A Blueprint for ISTEA Reauthorization, published in January 1997 by the Surface Transportation Policy Project. Each point is supported by extensive discussion in the Blueprint report itself.

I. Maintaining a national commitment to transportation

1. Maintain a strong federal role in transportation to pursue national goals
2. Retain ISTEA's principles: fairness between modes, a strong local voice, a metropolitan focus, accountability, environmental responsibility
3. Preserve ISTEA's basic structure: broad flexibility combined with funds targeted to activities of national interest
4. Make ISTEA easier to use: simplify federal red tape, allow broader participation in implementing projects

II. Fix it first: Taking care of what we have

5. Retain dedicated funding for repair of bridges and Interstate highways
6. Set a national goal for the condition of the Interstates: at least half of each state's system should be in fair condition
7. Require new highway projects to include a commitment of resources to maintain the highway over its useful life
8. Eliminate the federal rule prohibiting states from asking contractors to guarantee work

III. Providing Transportation Choices

11. Treat transit fairly: protect current funding categories, increase funding, allow greater flexibility between operating and capital funds
10. Maintain the Transportation Enhancements program with dedicated funding and less red tape
11. Make intercity rail eligible for ISTEA funds and dedicate 1/2 cent of the gas tax for it
12. Allow walking and biking to be real options for those who choose them
13. Establish a Job Access Program to connect unemployed people with jobs and ease the transition from welfare to work
14. End the advantage employer-provided parking has over transit in Federal tax law

IV. Protecting Public Safety and the Environment

15. Maintain the CMAQ program with an expanded focus on environmental sustainability
16. Establish a Natoinal Initiative on Transportation and the Environment to address air pollution, wetlands loss, energy dependence, and other problems
17. Establish a Land Use and Transportation Pilot Project to help communities trying to reconcile land use and transportation decision making
18. Retain a Federal commitment to safety: reform the safety program to make it truly multimodal
19. Protect aesthetic resources: retain the Scenic Byways Program and reform the Highway Beautification Act

V. Ensuring Accountability

20. Retain basic safeguards: public involvement, fiscally constrained planning, funds for metropolitan areas
21. Simplify and improve planning: introduce performance based planning, shorten the list of planning factors
22. Refine treatment of MPOs: strengthen certification review, allow for greater equity of representation
23. Close loopholes regarding toll roads, Federal lands programs, Major Investment Studies, and other topics
24. Give small metropolitan areas and rural communities a voice in decision making
25. Reform transportation research to make it truly multimodal, improve data collection and reporting

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