The Montana Livable Places Campaign is working hard to make sure our nation's next transportation law recognizes environmental and community values. Until 1991, Federal transportation policy pushed highways and little else. When ISTEA* was signed into law that year, the change was dramatic. Suddenly, state DOTs were told to involve the citizens in decisions. They had to share power with local governments. Money was set aside to clean the air and to support bicycling and walking.
Over the past year, the DOTs and their Highway Lobby friends have been fighting back. Some want to return to the good old days ... days that meant big bucks for highways and little for anything else ... days when citizens and local governments had little, if any, say ... days when clean air was the farthest thing from anyone's mind.
On September 30, 1997, the current law expired and several versions of the new law have being offered by the Senate and House. Things are very fluid right now and the best way to find out what's going on is to visit the ISTEA web site.