Vol. 18, No. 1; Jan/Feb 2007
Toll concessions, private financing and public-private partnerships continue to dominate the news from the transportation front. This latest update, arranged in reverse chronological order, covers the period from late October through late December 2006. We offer these summaries, along with our comments, in evidence that road pricing and private sector involvement in highway financing have indeed reached (and gone beyond) the tipping point.
Concern about growing transportation budget shortfalls and how to overcome them dominates public discussion these days. Future transportation funding and finance strategies figure prominently on conference agendas of the political community. The most recent example has been the Transportation Leaders Meeting held under the auspices of the National Conference of State Legislatures in San Antonio, Texas on December 6. The meeting brought together state transportation committee chairmen and other high ranking state legislators to discuss the transportation challenges facing state legislatures in the years ahead. Among the invited speakers at the meeting was your editor. His remarks are reproduced below. (for full text see "From the Editor")
As part of its Congestion Initiative, the U.S. Department of Transportation has issued a solicitation inviting states and metropolitan areas to enter into "Urban Partnership Agreements" designed to study and demonstrate "strategies with a proven record of effectiveness in reducing traffic congestion" (71 FR 71231, 12/8/2006). This action, together with the earlier "Corridors of the Future Program" (71 FR 52364, 9/5/2006), places U.S. DOT in the front lines of the battle against congestion. It also reflects Secretary Mary Peters' resolve to deliver on the promise she made at her swearing-in ceremony, to find "21st century solutions to 21st century transportation problems."
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