TEA-21 - Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century
Moving Americans into the 21st Century
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OVERALL: This session included remarks from Congressman Oberstar and Secretary Slater and panel discussions on four elements of TEA-21: Research and Education, Investment & Funding Levels, Safety Provisions, and Intermodal Provisions.
Given that the session was hosted by the University of Minnesotas Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, there was considerable focus on the research and education elements of TEA-21 and the importance of research. The University of Minnesota has 6 colleges working on transportation research with Federal funding vital to the University, especially the ITS and public policy program. The University reached over 6,000 practitioners last year throughout the State with their U.S. DOT funded program efforts. After his opening remarks, Secretary Slater presented a $1.8 million grant to help continue to fund programs at the ITS Institute.
Representative Congressman James L. Oberstar, Ranking Minority Member, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure made welcoming remarks and was credited by the Secretary for his extraordinary work in helping to get TEA-21 enacted. As part of the Congressmans remarks, the following were notable quotes:
"TEA-21 Takes us beyond the interstate era, beyond the ISTEA era, to a new era, with new vigor for transportation in America."
During his remarks on the need for multi-modal planning and policy development expertise, he said:
"We need to combine the best engineering judgement with the best policy directions for transportation for the next century....We need transportation in its broadest sense..including transit, CMAQ, enhancement. Americans want more out of their transportation dollar. They want access to scenic and cultural treasures. They want to use roadways for bikeways, in-line skating and walkways. We can do this." Finally, on the environment, he said, "We need to move more people more efficiently with less impact on the environment."
RESEARCH AND EDUCATION:
Panelists discussed the way TEA-21 changes the relationship between USDOT and State departments of transportation on research and the fact that, in their view, National level research is under funded. The demands on research funds exceed what is available through TEA-21 and, in the view of University of Minnesota panelists, National research needs are not sufficiently addressed. They indicated that they welcome a stronger role for states but the consequences on federal research program are significant. There is also a substantial shortfall in funding for policy-related research activities. Speakers noted that it is essential that states be involved with the USDOT in defining the national transportation research agenda.
The Federal agencies need to be the primary champion in research. It was suggested that USDOT use incentives and requirements to take advantage of decentralized research programs to ensure that research needs are addressed.
Transportation, technology and development interactions have been a focus of attention since 1991. Research is also needed on environment and community concerns. Four ways the University of Minnesota research agenda has addressed many of the thorny issues: 1) How can infrastructure contribute to sustainable communities? Link rather than divide people. 2) How can congestion pricing be used as a tool to address congestion? Through the research program, the Univ. of Minnesota has tried to communicate how and why pricing makes sense. 3) How can telecommunications and information technology change transportation and what are the implications for public policy? 4) How can transportation statistics be improved and used efficiently to use data in productive ways?
In addition, speakers noted the importance of public community and outreach activities and that they are integral to their programs (i.e., congestion pricing work, linking community and economic development with transportation and linking telecommunication and information planning with transportation projects.) Speakers encouraged DOT to support research and higher education in teaching and outreach.
TEA-21 INVESTMENT AND FUNDING LEVELS:
Panelists noted the strengths of TEA-21 in providing resources to preserve and improve transportation infrastructure and establishing a floor for highway and transit funding. They also supported the TEA-21 safety and environmental provisions.
ENHANCING OUR ENVIRONMENT:
TEA-21 penalizes states that conserve energy. TEA-21 provides CMAQ funds on the one hand, but rewards states for energy consumption through the formula. Congress needs to offer incentives for energy conservation. One speaker noted that public agencies spend millions of dollars on covered parking structures for their employees use, while the public sector does not provide bus shelters with any protection from the weather, etc. She suggested that we ought to think through ways to make transit use more attractive if we really want to create viable options to driving.
DRAFT AGENDA (IV)
TEA-21 LISTENING SESSION
Tuesday, October 20, 1998
8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
University of Minnesota - Minneapolis
Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs
|7:30 - 8:00 AM||Coffee and Registration|
|8:00 - 8:45 AM||Welcome and Opening Remarks
U. S. DOT Welcome & Introductions - Gloria Jeff, Deputy Administrator, Federal Highway Administration
U. S. DOT Listening Panel
OST: Rodney E. Slater, Secretary of Transportation
|8:45 - 9:30 AM||"The Future is Now" - The Importance of Research and Education in TEA-21
Robert J. Benke - Director of Research Administration, Minnesota Department of Transportation
|9:30 - 9:45 AM||Break|
|9:45 - 10:30 AM||"The Moneys In The Bank" - TEA 21 Investment & Funding Levels
James N. Denn - Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Transportation
|10:30 - 11:30 AM||Audience Interaction|
|11:30 - 12:30 PM||Lunch (on your own)|
|12:30 - 1:15 PM||"More Than Asphalt, Concrete & Steel" - TEA-21 Enhancing our Environment
Jean Wagenius - Chair, Minnesota House Transportation Committee
|1:15 - 2:30 PM||"Trucks, Trains, and Buses" - The Intermodal Aspects of TEA-21
Allan J. Vogel- Director, Office of Freight, Railroad, and Waterways, MNDOT
|2:30 - 2:45 PM||Break|
|2:45 - 3:30 PM||"Safe At Every Speed" - TEA-21 & Safety
Kathy Swanson-Director, Office of Traffic Sfety, Minnesota Department of Public Safety
|3:30- 4:15 PM||Audience Interaction|
|4:15 - 4:30 PM||Final Comments|