Tell your Representative to support a national vision for transportation

[Ed's Note: Copied & pasted from Steve Davis's article at Transportation for America.]

“… It’s important to develop a long-term transportation strategy when it comes to our economy and environment. We must rebuild our aging infrastructure in a smart way that addresses our economic and energy challenges.” — Rep. Carnahan

In the revolutionary transportation bill of 1991, Congress officially declared that Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway System had been completed, signaling an end to one of the greatest national investments in history. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a new national vision to take it’s place, and our transportation system has been operating as a ship without a rudder since.

We’re in desperate need of an overarching strategy that determines when, how, and where transportation dollars are spent. As of now, we have no firm plan. No vision. No goal for what the billions in taxpayer dollars should accomplish. That can all change with the National Transportation Objectives Act of 2009 introduced last week by three members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Russ Carnahan (D-MO), Rush Holt (D-NJ), and Jay Inslee (D-WA).

These three Representatives made a great step towards a 21st Century transportation system by introducing this bill, but this legislation needs us to stand behind it to have a real impact. Let’s send a message to Congress loud and clear that this is the kind of vision the American people support.

Like its companion bill introduced to the Senate in May, this bill sets a bold new vision for federal transportation policy and is in line with Transportation for America’s goals for reform: building a cleaner, smarter, safer system that provides more travel choices for all Americans.

The House bill establishes six objectives and 10 measurable targets. If they sound familiar at all, that’s because they’re exactly the same as what we have in our Blueprint. The performance targets, which all have of a goal of being achieved in 20 years, include:

  • Reduce vehicles miles traveled by 16 percent.
  • Triple walking, biking, and public transit use.
  • Reduce transportation-generated carbon dioxide levels by 40 percent.
  • Reduce delays by 10 percent.
  • Increase the proportion of freight transportation provided by railroad and intermodal services by 20 percent.
  • Achieve zero percent population exposure to at-risk levels of air pollution.
  • Improve public safety and lower congestion cost by reducing traffic crashes by 50 percent.
  • Increase share of major highways, regional transit fleets and facilities, and bicycling/pedestrian infrastructure in good state of repair condition by 20 percent.
  • Reduce average household combined housing plus transportation costs by 25 percent, using 2000 as a base year.
  • Increase by 50 percent the number of essential destinations accessible within 30 minutes by public transportation or 15 minutes by walking, for low-income, senior, and disabled populations.

Tell your Representative to support and co-sponsor the National Transportation Objectives Act of 2009.