WASHINGTON, Sept. 22, 2009 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – With the nation’s surface transportation law due to expire at the end of this month, the Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) National Transportation Policy Project (NTPP) held a public forum today in Detroit, Michigan to discuss its blueprint for reform entitled, “Performance Driven: A New Vision for U.S. Transportation Policy,” and its implications for the Detroit region. The forum, hosted in partnership with the Detroit Regional Chamber, attracted leading local transportation policymakers, academics and other key transportation stakeholders.
The panelists who spoke at today’s forum agreed that the federal transportation system is losing effectiveness and needs immediate reform. NTPP Co-Chair and former Mayor of Detroit Dennis Archer pushed for such reform. “The Detroit region is at the heart of our nation’s transportation system and we need to utilize these advantages to improve our economic prosperity,” said former Mayor Archer. “The current structure of federal transportation programs does not recognize the key role that transportation investment plays in economic growth and access to jobs. Detroit would benefit from a program and funding framework that is based on economic performance and outcomes.”
Tammy Carnrike, Chief Operating Officer at the Detroit Regional Chamber, welcomed participants at today’s forum. “With the current federal transportation law expiring on September 30th, we have an opportunity to change the status quo. The NTPP report shows how we can link transportation spending to critical economic, environmental and safety objectives and other key priorities in the metro Detroit region,” said Carnrike. “We are pleased to join the Bipartisan Policy Center in hosting today’s event and drawing attention to the growing need to overhaul the nation’s transportation system.”
Today’s discussion focused on preservation and restoration of the existing national transportation system, a recommendation NTPP calls for in the next transportation authorization bill. In its recently released report, NTPP proposes a new formula program that would target federal funds to those investments most necessary to preserve the national transportation system. This program directly ties transportation spending to broader national goals, including economic growth, connectivity, accessibility, safety, energy security and environmental protection.
Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano spoke during today’s forum. “Michigan’s aging transportation infrastructure would benefit greatly from a program that encourages maintenance and restoration of the existing system, as recommended in the NTPP report. Additionally, measuring the effectiveness of investments in transportation will benefit local and regional economies,” said Ficano, whose county is the most populated in Michigan with about two million residents.
“We need to give people choices for their transportation mobility,” said Greg Johnson, Chief Operating Officer for the Michigan Department of Transportation, during today’s panel discussion. “A transportation system that is efficient, effective and accountable for performance, must include the highway, transit and non-motorized options our customers say they want.”
Held at the Detroit Regional Chamber, the forum attracted many Michigan transportation experts, including Michigan State Representative Pam Byrnes; Paul Tait, Executive Director at the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments; John Woodrooffe, Head of the Transportation Safety Analysis Division at the University of Michigan Transportation Institute; Richard Wallace, Senior Project Manager at the Center for Automotive Research; and Tim Johnson, Strategic Opportunity Manager at Sprint Nextel Corporation.
A project of the BPC, NTPP was launched with the goal of bringing fresh approaches to transportation policy. Former Mayor Archer co-chairs NTPP with former Senator Slade Gorton (R-WA) and former Congressmen Martin Sabo (D-MN) and Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY). NTPP’s report, released in June, is the product of a broad, bipartisan coalition of transportation experts, and business and civic leaders. To learn more about NTPP, please visit www.bipartisanpolicy.org.
About the Bipartisan Policy Center:
In 2007, former U.S. Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole, and George Mitchell formed the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) to develop and promote solutions that can attract the public support and political momentum to achieve real progress. The BPC acts as an incubator for policy efforts that engage top political figures, advocates, academics, and business leaders in the art of principled compromise. Currently, the BPC conducts projects in the areas of transportation, health care, energy and climate change, science, and national and homeland security. For more information please visit our website: http://www.bipartisanpolicy.org/.
Source: Bipartisan Policy Center