NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Options for Federal Surface Transportation Reform

July 2, 2015

The federal law governing surface transportation policy is up for renewal in 2015, presenting an opportunity for the House and the Senate to create a more free-market oriented transportation policy. Though Congress could adopt a short-term funding extension, it should consider permanent reforms that would improve the efficiency of federal surface transportation spending, and reallocate responsibilities between the federal government and state authorities says Baruch Feigenbaum, an adjunct fellow with the NCPA and policy analyst at Reason Foundation.

Several recommendations for reforms include:

  • Grant user-friendly tolling flexibility for highways.
  • Count all high occupancy toll lanes as fixed guideway miles.
  • Analyze the ability of Metropolitan Planning Organizations' (MPOs) long-range transportation plans to reduce congestion.
  • Eliminate federal aid funded by gas taxes for all nonhighway uses.
  • Amend the Clean Air Act of 1990 by eliminating the conformity analysis costs.

These recommendations would bring federal requirements in line with the declining federal role in local transportation issues. It is critical that the federal government eliminate wasteful programs and provide states tools to stretch limited resources further.

Source: Baruch Feigenbaum, "Federal Transportation Reform," National Center for Policy Analysis, June 30, 2015.


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