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This magazine is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information.
|Publication Number: Date: Autumn 1995|
Issue No: Vol. 59 No. 2
Date: Autumn 1995
"Along the Road" is the place to look for information about current and upcoming activities, developments, trends, and items of general interest to the highway community. This information comes from Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) sources unless otherwise indicated. Your suggestions and input are welcome. Let's meet along the road.
Senate Passes NHS
On June 22, 1995, the U.S. Senate passed S.440, the National Highway System Designation Act, as amended. This bill would approve the most recent National Highway System (NHS) submitted by the secretary of transportation as of the date of enactment; limit the system to 265,542 kilometers; give the secretary the authority to make subsequent changes to the system (without approval by the Congress); and establish procedures for requesting changes by the states and for approving changes by the secretary. If the full Congress fails to approve NHS by Sept. 30, 1995, $6.5 billion in infrastructure funds, under the provisions of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA), will be lost to the states.
House Approves ITS Appropriation
On June 30, the Appropriations Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill providing $206.25 million for the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) program. This amount includes $93.25 million in general appropriations and $113 million in contract authority from ISTEA. In addition, the bill also provides $38 million for earmarked projects. ITS does have its congressional opponents, and some have proposed or attempted to eliminate most ITS funding. The House committee found that management of the ITS program has improved through the establishment of DOT's ITS Joint Program Office (JPO) but urged a more targeted, coordinated, and cost-conscious ITS program. It also transferred control of the entire ITS funding budget and management of all ITS projects to JPO.
- ITS America
NHI Moves to Arlington
After eight years at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center in McLean, Va., the National Highway Institute (NHI) moved on June 5 to its new location at 901 N. Stuart Street, Suite 300, Arlington, VA 22203. The telephone numbers have been distributed FHWA-wide through e-mail. The move consolidates the resources of NHI and, by collocating with FHWA's Office of Motor Carriers training staff, offers FHWA customers one-stop shopping for their training needs.
Federal Agencies Fund Commuting/Parking Cash-Out Study
FHWA, Federal Transit Administration, and Environmental Protection Agency are funding a study by the Association for Commuter Transportation (ACT), a national organization of ridesharing professionals, to examine commuting programs and the impact of the federal tax code regulations on employer and employee decisions.
DOT Provides Another $3.3 Million for Scenic Byways
Ten states Colorado, Idaho, Massachusetts, Maryland, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia recently received grants totaling almost $3.3 million for scenic byways projects. These funds are in addition to the $15.6 million provided earlier this year by the Department of Transportation (DOT) to support the Scenic Byways Program, which was established by ISTEA.
DOT Revises CMAQ Program
In July, DOT revised its Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ) to give state and local officials greater flexibility and decision-making authority. The attainment deadline has been lifted, and a two-year transition period has been established to ensure continued funding after an area has met its clean air goals (achieved attainment). Two-year funding limits will no longer be applied to activities such as advertising and public relations campaigns. Many ridesharing activities, previously ineligible for funding, can now be funded as outreach. Now, activities such as financing inspection and maintenance facilities to test and repair faulty emissioncontrol systems may be eligible for funds. The support for new transit services has been increased from two to three years, and for the first time, direct fare and fee subsidies will be allowed to attract new riders. CMAQ is an ISTEA-authorized, $1 billion-a-year program to reduce traffic congestion and transportation-related air pollution.
DOT Gives $28 Million to Help Travelers at Olympics
DOT awarded two grants totaling $28 million to facilitate local transportation in Atlanta during the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. One grant for $15 million provides funds for the delivery, preparation, maintenance, and return of a fleet of up to 2,000 new mass transit buses that cities throughout the United States are lending Atlanta. A second grant of $13 million, to be matched by $3.25 million in local funds, will be used for a new high-tech information system that will showcase the most advanced transit technology; user-friendly kiosks will provide real-time information so that visitors and residents can quickly, easily, and accurately determine their travel options.