To meet the Nation’s surface transportation system needs, the federal government must continue to play a strong funding role. Historically, the federal government has contributed approximately 45 percent of the total capital investment in both highways and transit. All rural and urban areas need to have adequate funding to support access and connectivity to the national transportation system to advance the national economic well-being and global competitiveness. This level of commitment must be maintained which will require a substantial increase in the level of federal capital investment in the nation’s highway and transit systems.
Continue a vibrant and stable federal funding role in investing in, maintaining, and operating an integrated and multimodal national surface transportation system.
Support the roles and responsibilities of States, transit agencies and local governments – the owners, managers and operators of the nation’s highway and transit systems.
Maintain, and where appropriate, increase State authority in the administration of the Federal Highway Program. States, transit agencies and local governments own, construct, maintain, operate, manage, and report on the performance of the nation’s highway and transit systems. U.S. DOT’s collaboration with states as partners is absolutely essential in delivering a safe, economic, efficient and environmentally sound surface transportation system.
Maintain the core principle of a federally assisted, state administered highway program and extend this principle to the transit program and its owners and operators.
The States are the owners, operators and managers of the highway system which carries 80% of truck traffic and interstate commerce and a majority of all travel. Therefore, the historic principle of a federally-assisted, State-administered program must be preserved, where the federal government is responsible for defining national policies, and the States and their local government and transit agency partners are responsible for program and project delivery.
Maintain at least the current share of total highway program funding in MAP-21 provided to states via apportioned core programs by continuing the current prohibition on earmarks.
Under SAFETEA-LU, an average of 83% of Federal Highway funds were apportioned to the States by formula. Under MAP-21 the average of Federal Highway funds apportioned to the States by formula grew to 92.6%. By limiting discretionary programs and administrative allocations, and by eliminating earmarks, funding is largely distributed to the States in a more stable and predictable manner. States should be provided with maximum flexibility to use these core formula funds to meet their unique and diverse transportation system needs.
Preserve the fundamental program and policy reforms in MAP-21 and support additional opportunities to streamline and simplify the Federal surface transportation programs.
MAP-21’s reforms – program consolidation, further project delivery streamlining, performance measurement, and an expanded innovative finance program – will help produce a better surface transportation system. Additional project delivery streamlining and program simplification would provide further benefits.
Coalesce around practical funding options, including any user-fee based revenue options, to sustain Federal highway, highway safety and transit program funding and to supplement revenues from existing sources.
In order to place funding for highway, highway safety and transit programs and the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund on a short and long term, sustainable basis, Congress should consider a portfolio of tools, including user-based revenue options.
Protect and further expand policies that support flexible use of conventional and innovative funding and financing tools.
Congress should grant States maximum access and flexibility to use a mix of funding and financing tools most appropriate for each State. This includes use of public-private partnership opportunities that combine the management efficiency and innovation of the private sector with public sector social responsibility and job generation concerns. Where government policies, laws and regulations impede private investment, acceptable alternatives for reducing these impediments should be developed.
Provide dedicated funding, funding guarantees and budgetary firewalls for all modes.
The Highway Trust Fund provides a dedicated funding stream for federal investment in highways, highway safety and transit systems and services, an essential function of the federal government. In 1998 Congress provided the federal highway and transit programs with funding guarantees and budgetary firewalls to ensure revenues accruing to the Highway Trust Fund were being used for their intended purposes rather than being used to offset deficits in other domestic discretionary programs. In 2011 the U.S. House of Representatives established new procedural rules which includes eliminating the funding guarantees and firewalls. Because these protections allow for much-need stability in program and delivery of long-term capital projects which are vital to the improvement of economic competitiveness and quality of life, the funding guarantees and firewalls should be reinstituted. Similar guarantees should be established for other modal programs funded through the Aviation Trust Funds, the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, and the Inland Waterways Trust Fund.