Reconnecting America People * Places * Possibility

Measuring Performance in the Federal Transportation Program: A Path to Progress and Accountability

Transportation for America has release a white paper discussing how to turn existing federal transportation policy into a performance-based transportation program.

As "Measuring Performance in the Federal Transportation Program: A Path to Progress and Accountability" explains: "The last two authorizations invested increasing sums in transportation without a corresponding improvement in conditions. Major metropolitan areas remain mired in congestion that seems to grow worse with every development decision, threatening our economic competitiveness and costing citizens’ time and money. Indeed, households are spending an increasing share of their budgets on transportation. At the same time many Americans have been without viable travel options. Projects built under existing policies have yielded significant environmental damage and health problems from air pollution. Meanwhile, our vast network of aging roads and bridges is beginning to crumble under a federal system that does not ensure proper upkeep."

As much as $500 billion will be set aside over the next six years by Congress to fund surface transportation programs. Governing that spending will be policies set down in the reauthorization language.

"Now, as we work to move the nation into the 21st century, the American people need more options for getting around and we must ensure the best use of limited funds," the paper concludes. "Our policy must become more performance-driven, more directly related to a set of clearly articulated goals and more accountable for results."

The paper recommends that investments be targeted toward programs that will bring the greatest public benefits and the greatest returns in terms of economic growth, national connectivity, metropolitan accessibility, social equity, energy security, public health, environmental sustainability and safety.