Category Archives: Transportation

Innovative State Transportation Funding and Financing: Policy Options for States

Source: David Burwell and Robert Puentes, National Governors Association, January 2009

From the press release:
The report, Innovative State Transportation Funding and Financing: Policy Options for States, outlines the challenges states face in funding transportation needs, and details a number of near- and longer-term policy solutions that states can examine.

The nation’s highways, roads, bridges, and transit systems currently are funded by an array of revenue sources, including fuel taxes, vehicle user fees, transit fares, impact fees, bonds, property and sales taxes, and general funds. However the total annual investment in surface transportation falls dramatically short of the amount needed to maintain the current system, let alone improve the status of the nation’s transportation infrastructure.

FEDERAL-AID HIGHWAYS: Federal Requirements for Highways May Influence Funding Decisions and Create Challenges, but Benefits and Costs Are Not Tracked

Source: United States Government Accountability Office, GAO-09-36, December 2008

As highway congestion continues to be a problem in many areas, states are looking to construct or expand highway projects. When a state department of transportation (DOT) receives federal funding for highway projects from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the projects must comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirement, the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program, and the Buy America program. While complying with these requirements, states must use limited transportation dollars efficiently. As requested, GAO addressed (1) the types of benefits and costs associated with these requirements for federal-aid highway projects; (2) the influence of these federal requirements on states’ decisions to use nonfederal or federal funds for highway projects; and (3) the challenges associated with the federal requirements and strategies used or proposed to address the challenges. To complete this work, GAO reviewed 30 studies, surveyed DOTs in all states and the District of Columbia, and interviewed transportation officials and other stakeholders.

Green Infrastructure Municipal Handbook

Source: Environmental Protection Agency, December 19, 2008

The Municipal Handbook is a series of documents to help local officials implement green infrastructure in their communities. Handbook topics cover issues such as financing, operation and maintenance, incentives, designs, codes & ordinances, and a variety of other subjects. The handbook documents are intended to serve as “how to” manuals on these topics, written primarily from the standpoint of municipal implementation. The handbook is being produced in sections, with each new element being released as it is completed.
Currently available:
Funding Options
Green Streets
Retrofit Policies
Rainwater Harvesting Policies

APWA Identifies $15B in “Shovel-ready” Projects

Source: American Public Works Association, December 2008

A survey by the American Public Works Association identified more than 3,600 unfunded local public works infrastructure projects totaling more than $15 billion that are ready to go within 90 days to provide a stimulative effect on the economy if funded by a federal economic recovery package under consideration by Congress. Funding these projects, just a sample of the identified local need, would generate approximately 532,794 jobs.

Voters Not Afraid To Raise Taxes For Transportation Funding

Source: American City and County, November 6, 2008

Voters in 17 states approved ballot measures that called for higher taxes to fund state and local transportation projects, according to the Washington-based American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA).The approved measures would generate a total of $71 billion in new revenue for transportation infrastructure work.

Effects of TOD on Housing, Parking, and Travel

Source: G. B. Arrington and Robert Cervero, Transportation Research Board, Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP), Report 128, October 2, 2008

From the abstract:
Effects of TOD on Housing, Parking, and Travel explores the demographics of transit-oriented development (TOD) residents and employers, and their motives for locating in TODs. The report also examines the travel characteristics of residence before and after moving to a TOD and ways to increase transit ridership among these residents. In addition, the report reviews the potential effect of land-use and design features on travel patterns, transit ridership, and the decision to locate in a TOD.

Potential Impacts of Climate Change on U.S. Transportation

Source: Transportation Research Board, Special Report 290, 2008

From the abstract:
The Potential Impacts of Climate Change on U.S. Transportation explores the consequences of climate change for U.S. transportation infrastructure and operations. The report provides an overview of the scientific consensus on the current and future climate changes of particular relevance to U.S. transportation, including the limits of present scientific understanding as to their precise timing, magnitude, and geographic location; identifies potential impacts on U.S. transportation and adaptation options; and offers recommendations for both research and actions that can be taken to prepare for climate change. The report also summarizes previous work on strategies for reducing transportation-related emissions of carbon dioxide–the primary greenhouse gas–that contribute to climate change. Five commissioned papers used by the committee to help develop the report, a summary of the report, and a National Academies press release associated with the report are available online.
A summary of the report, as published in the May-June 2008 issue of TR News, is also available online.

ASBC Releases School Bus Stats, Fuel Calculator

Source: School Bus Fleet, October 2, 2008

As a result of the 480,000 school buses currently in operation in the U.S., more than 2.3 billion gallons of fuel are spared each year, resulting in a net savings of more than $8 billion in fuel costs, according to new statistics released by the American School Bus Council (ASBC).
Among the other statistics released by the ASBC:
• 17.3 million: Total number of private vehicles that would be needed to transport students currently riding on all school buses.
• 822 million gallons per year: Total fuel used by school buses.
• $3.4 billion per year: Total cost of fuel used by school buses.
• $131 per year: Cost of fuel per child transported by school bus.
• 3.1 billion gallons per year: Total fuel for cars replaced by buses
• $11.4 billion per year: Cost of fuel for cars replaced by school buses
• 62.4 billion: Total annual car mileage saved by students riding school buses.
• 346.6 million: Total daily car mileage saved by students riding school buses.
• 36: Average number of cars needed to transport students currently riding one school bus.
See also:
National School Bus Fuel Data
Fuel Calculator
Statement of the American School Bus Council Regarding Impact of High Fuel Prices on School Districts Across the Country

Demographic Trends Affecting Transportation in the U.S.

Source: Robert Puentes, Brooking Institution, Metropolitan Policy Program, Women’s Transportation Policy Seminar, September 11, 2008

From the summary:
In this PowerPoint presentation Robert Puentes provides a deeper understanding of trends that are impacting metropolitan America and how those trends may impact the transportation demand and service in the coming decades. The presentation stresses several key points including dramatic changes in household formation, the increasing diversity reflected in both cities and suburban areas, and the key spatial effects on the American landscape.