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Highlights of New Orleans TEA-21 Listening Session
New Orleans, Louisiana
September 15, 1998

OVERALL: Speakers offered many specific ideas at this Listening Session related to the implementation of TEA-21. There was widespread support for TEA-21 guaranteed funding levels, flexibility, streamlining provisions related to project delivery and the National Corridor Planning and Border Infrastructure Programs.

Flexibility: Many speakers talked about the need for flexibility within the States to tailor approaches to TEA-21 implementation accordingly. Specific Suggestions:

Project delivery process: There was universal agreement that the implementation timetable for projects has grown too long. Specific Suggestions:

National Corridor Planning and Border Infrastructure Programs: Many speakers indicated a desire to have U.S. DOT move quickly to distribute these funds and to distribute the funds equitably among the contenders for funds. Specific Suggestions:

Innovative Finance Provisions: SIBs were widely supported as they have been in all of the sessions to date. Speakers supported the new ability to leverage private capital through TIFIA however, they felt that the exclusion of publically owned seaport and airport facilities will diminish the effectiveness of this program. Intermodal freight facilities, of all nine in the (New Orleans) region, none qualify for the TIFIA program. Specific Suggestions:

High Priority Projects: As has been the case in other Listening Sessions, States want to be able to use advance construction authority for high priority projects and asked that funds for these projects not be allocated on year by year and project by project basis. The case was made that the project delivery process would be more efficient if high priority projects could proceed when ready with other sources of federal funds and then those sources repaid.

Research: ITS is important and we should be looking to find ways to use technology to increase capacity. Research is needed to find environmentally sensitive way to remove lead. Some speakers expressed concern about cuts in research at FHWA. States will prioritize research to ensure needed research continues. It was recognized that States and universities need to work together with DOT on research, priorities, etc.

Planning Issues: There were a variety of suggestions on the planning process and where it needs improvement. States and MPOs did not always agree with approaches to planning issues, however. Specific suggestions:

Freight Issues: Truckers oppose tolls Section 1216 of TEA-21 and urge U.S. DOT to select projects carefully. CVO technologies are supported and the I-75 Advantage program is an example of transponder equipped trucks traveling between states. Specific suggestions:

Safety: Safety should be #1 priority. Operation LifeSaver program has been a success and the public education through the Operation LifeSaver program should be continued. Section 130 funds for grade crossing improvements is inadequate. The Section 130 program formula favors urban areas so rural areas cannot compete successfully for funding. High traffic volume grade crossings in rural America cannot compete. Specific suggestions:

Indian Reservation Road Funds Issues: The Indian Reservation Road (IRR) funds administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs has a funding formula that results in 1/3 of funding to the Navajo Nation with over 20 tribes competing for 2% of funding. The cap on funding that can be spent by tribes for planning purposes of 2% is not enough money and amounts to about $5000 per year for planning. Specific suggestions:

"Top Ten Reasons Why TEA-21 is the finest legislation ever crafted by the U.S. Congress"

F. Clarke Holmes, Executive Director, Central Mississippi Planning &
Development District (MPO in central Mississippi)

#10: We do not have to establish a constituency for transportation. The public understands that transportation is vital.

#9: TEA-21 is futuristic.

#8: TEA-21 provides true, local policy authority.

#7: TEA-21 continues the shift in focus from the construction of the interstate system to local and metropolitan systems. It gives local agency decisions the ability to stick. Local officials need to have authority because that's where most services are provided.

#6: TEA-21 gives us the flexibility that is needed to balance the need for new construction and maintaining what we have. Keep system up and running before thinking about new construction.

#5: TEA-21 recognizes that multi-modal investments need to be made.

#4: TEA-21 recognizes that transportation should not be seen as a separate entity from the development process and needs to be integrated with land use.

#3: TEA-21 recognizes the need for a blend of political and technical processes and a balance between them.

#2: TEA-21 provides a long term, cyclical approach to investments.

#1: TEA-21 is paid for.

U.S. Department of Transportation
TEA-21 New Orleans Listening Session
9:00 a.m., Tuesday, September 15, 1998
Hotel Inter-Continental, 444 St. Charles Avenue


8:30 a.m. Registration and coffee
9:00 a.m. Mark Morial, Mayor, City of New Orleans (invited)
9:15 a.m. USDOT Introductory Remarks
  • Mort Downey, Deputy Secretary USDOT
  • Gloria Jeff, Deputy Administrator, FHWA
  • Charlotte Hrncir, Director Intergovernmental Affairs, NHTSA
  • Kelley Coyner, Administrator, RSPA
  • Jim McQueen, Associate Administrator, FRA
  • Lee Waddleton, Regional Administrator, FTA
9:45 a.m. Panel A (10-minute presentation and panelist, then Q&A)
  • Frank Denton, Secretary, Louisiana Department of Transportation
  • Ken Warren, Executive Director, Mississippi Department of Transportation
  • Dan Flowers, Director, Arkansas Department of Transportation
  • Kristina Ford, Director, City Planning Commission, New Orleans, LA
10:45 a.m. Break
11:00 a.m. Panel B (10-minute presentation and panelist, then Q&A)
  • Walter Brooks, Deputy Director, New Orleans Regional Planning Commission
  • Clarke Holmes, Director, Central Mississippi Planning & Development District
  • Dennis Foltz, Executive Director, Middle Rio Grande Council of Governments
  • Carl Bauer, Chairman Louisiana Governorís I-49 Task Force
  • Ken Adler, EPA
12:00 NoonAudience Questions and Answers
12:30 p.m.Lunch (Afternoon Panels Reconvene at 1:30 p.m.)
1:30 p.m. Panel C (10-minute presentation and panelist, then Q&A)
  • Glenn Guillot, General Manager Southeastern Motor Freight
  • Ted Knappen, American Bus Association
  • Jodie Paden, Local Government Technology Center, Oklahoma State University
  • Paulson Chaco, Director, Navajo Department of Transportation
  • Al Prater, President, Louisiana Parish Engineers Association
2:30 p.m.Break
2:45 p.m. Panel D (10-minute presentation and panelist, then Q&A)
  • Ron Brinson, President, Port of New Orleans
  • Thomas Moore, Director, Little Rock Port Authority
  • Pat Younger, Government Relations Manager, Port of Houston
  • John McGuire, Councilman, City of Mandeville, LA
3:45 p.m. Panel E (10-minute presentation and panelist, then Q&A)
  • John Bartosiewicz, General Manager, Fort Worth Transportation Authority
  • Larry Hall, President, Southwest Transit Association
  • Jim Champagne, Louisiana Governorís Safety Representative
  • Cathy Childers, Motherís Against Drunk Driving
4:30 p.m.Audience Questions and Answers
5:00 p.m.Adjourn

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