Highlights of New York TEA-21 National Listening Session
OVERALL: There was broad support for TEA-21 basic retention of ISTEA framework and multi-modal and intermodal approach. As indicated below, a number of speakers envision a Federal role, at least with respect to some issues, as proactive but in a partnership rather than proscriptive mode. Key quotes from the day:
QUOTES - NEW YORK
Mayor John Zisa, City of Hackensack, NJ (Bergen County) "Conversations about transportation are the most compelling discussions we have about economic development and quality of life." (NY Session, 10/6)
Richard Martinez, Bureau Chief, Policy & Planning, Connecticut DOT: "If ISTEA was a sea change, then TEA-21 is a validation of ISTEAs changes." (NY Session, 10/6)
Jeff Zupan, Senior Fellow, Regional Plan Association: "The Nation and our region must do a better job of managing demand on our highway networks." (NY Session, 10/6)
Frans W. van Riemsdyk, VP, Sales and Marketing, Maher Terminals "Government provided infrastructure must keep pace with global trade." (NY Session, 10/6)
Cruz Russell, Director, Office of Policy and Planning, Port Authority of NY & NJ: "ISTEA and TEA-21 provide a platform and opportunity to do better at utilizing our regional resources." (NY Session, 10/6)
Frank Kreusi, President, Chicago Transit Authority: "Movement of people needs to be effective and efficient, but also humane." (NY Session, 10/6)
Welfare-to-work/jobs access: Need flexibility to ensure goals of program are met. Requirement that $$ be "attached" to an individual"client" is almost impossible. We need to balance the need to regulate and have accountability vs. the need to get the $$ out to move people.
Big buses, fixed route transit not the only answer. "Mobility managers" is the right way to go.
Federal highway $$ should be eligible to accelerate bus replacement programs.
New Rules, Regulations & Guidance:
Clean Fuel Program: eligibility should be limited to nonattainment areas; priority should be given to areas that use CNG and other clean fuels.
Planning and Streamlining:
Consolidation down to 7 factors gives greater flexibility, provision that failure to consider 7 factors is not reviewable by the courts is disturbing. Also, public participation is uneven. DOT needs to monitor MPO performance.
USDOT should give MPOs the tools to continue role as coordinator, facilitator. Labor needs to be part of the MPO process.
DOT should give flexibility on how to incorporate MIS into the NEPA and planning processes, although one speaker urged that MIS be retained as distinct element of the planning process.
Environmental reviews need to be expedited: what about delegation to state resource agencies?
States should be able to use other Federal $$ for advance construction.
DOT regulations on penalties with respect to failure to enforce provisions on repeat drunk driving offenders are needed ASAP to give states time to revise state laws.
Bike and pedestrian (B&P) modes need to be safer. Incorporation of B&P considerations into transportation planning and project development is important. B&P community should be involved in developing highway and transit design standards.
As DOT develops safety regulations, there is concern that linkage w/ other data bases will cause loss of privacy, and that drive for uniformity may mean that important data gets lost.
Need to enhance transit safety: seek Federal support, not sanctions, for safety and training programs.
Federal Role/Institutional Relationships
Public-private partnerships need to be more clearly defined. Any guidance or assistance from USDOT would be helpful.
Need to get real about making rational transportation decisions on rail investments. DOT needs to take a firm hand. If poor new start proposals move forward, transit will suffer in the long run.
FTA should streamline programs; e.g., FTA reporting requirements result in project delays. FTA should adopt FHWA fiscal information and management system to allow projects to proceed on a project by project basis.
DOT should show leadership in improving the MPO process.
DOT should support the large cities initiative
DOT should help reduce the confusion that exists in the private sector about commuter choice (transit check, cash out). DOT should do more explaining of transit provisions to highway community, and vice-versa.
DOT needs to support local land use change initiatives.
There needs to be better coordination of transit with other Federally funded social services, including training programs as to how to work with the many Federal programs.
With respect to ITS opportunities in transit (e.g., AVL systems, signal pre-emption), the problem is institutional. At the Federal level, the ITS $$ go thru FHWA, not FTA. At the local level: signal preemption involves multiple jurisdictions.
Intermodalism/Economic Development/Goods Movement
Connections LRT+commuter rail+highways are key to efficient multi-modal network. Intermodalism is key to economic growth and development, needs to include land use, zoning.
Connecting roads to transit systems benefit both.
Bringing in freight becomes critical, and public-private partnerships can help a lot.
Government provided infrastructure must keep pace with global trade.
Needs to be an increased focus on introducing new technology for maximum efficiency and productivity of the existing system.
Should invest R&D money to find construction techniques more acceptable to communities, especially with respect to noise. Need to work closely with local communities to minimize impact of construction.