Subcommittee on Transportation, Infrastructure and Nuclear Safety
of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
September 30, 2002
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) is pleased to provide this statement on "The State of America's Highway Infrastructure" for the record as the Environment and Public Works Committee examines the reauthorization of the nation’s surface transportation program.
ASCE, founded in 1852, is the country's oldest national civil engineering organization representing more than 125,000 civil engineers in private practice, government, industry and academia who are dedicated to the advancement of the science and profession of civil engineering. ASCE is a 501(c) (3) non-profit educational and professional society.
ASCE believes the reauthorization of the nation’s surface transportation programs should focus on three goals:
· Expanding infrastructure investment
· Enhancing infrastructure delivery
· Maximizing infrastructure effectiveness
In 2001, ASCE released the Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, which gave the nation’s infrastructure a grade of "D+" based on 12 categories. Roads received a grade of “D,” bridges a “C,” and transit a “C-.”
The nation’s surface transportation programs have benefited from an increase in federal and local funding currently allocated to ease road congestion, to repair decaying bridges, and to add transit miles. In our role as stewards of the infrastructure, ASCE developed its first Report Card for America’s Infrastructure in 1998, and the infrastructure scored an overall grade of “D.”
Although many Americans were alarmed by these report cards, few were surprised. Their daily experience had prepared them. They were coping with traffic congestion and crumbling pavement. Their children and grandchildren were attending schools so overcrowded the first lunch shift started at 10:15 a.m. or so old and neglected that the roof leaked whenever it rained.
Indeed, ASCE’s first report card in 1998 did help to prompt action. Soon after its release, Congress passed the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), P.L. 105-178, providing record levels of authorized funding for roads, bridges, and transit. Voters in communities throughout the United States passed bond initiatives to provide desperately needed funds to build and restore school facilities.
At the same time, however, growing frustration with worsening traffic congestion, school overcrowding and the other burdens placed on our overtaxed infrastructure has led voters to put the brakes on development by passing initiatives to limit growth.
A. The State of the Nation’s Surface Transportation Infrastructure
According to ASCE’s 2001 Report Card, the nation’s roads earned a D+, up from a D- in 1998. The major reason for this is that the Congress and state and local governments have begun to address the investment crisis and crumbling infrastructure through the enactment of TEA-21, which provided $218 billion for the nation’s highway and transit programs, and additional state and local programs to fund surface transportation infrastructure. But even at these increased funding levels, capital investments fall short of needs by 43 billion dollars a year.
On our highways, nearly 70 percent of peak-hour traffic experiences congested conditions. And, according to a study by the Texas Transportation Institute the total congestion “bill” for the 75 areas studied in 2000 came to $67.5 billion, which is the value of 3.6 billion hours of delay and 5.7 billion gallons of excess fuel consumed. To keep congestion from increasing between 1999 and 2000 would have required 1,780 new lane-miles of freeway and 2,590 new lane-miles of streets – OR – an average of 6.2 million additional new trips per day taken by either carpool or transit, or perhaps satisfied by some electronic means – OR operational improvements that allowed three percent more travel to be handled on the existing systems – OR – some combination of these actions. None of this took place and congestion increased.
TEA-21 funds, combined with additional revenues from state and local governments, have begun to make an impact on road projects in all 50 states. Total highway expenditures by all levels of government and all expenditure types (including capital outlays; maintenance; and research, policing and administrative) have increased from $93.5 billion in 1995, before TEA-21 was enacted, to $111.9 billion in 1999. Additionally, the obligation of federal funds for roadway projects has almost doubled during this same period from $8.6 billion in 1995 to $16.3 billion in 1999. Another good measure of the increased attention to our nation’s highways is the miles of federal-aid roadway projects underway. This number has also increased dramatically from 16,654 miles in 1995 to 29,030 miles in 1999.
Even with TEA-21’s commitment, our nation must increase annual investment by $27 billion at all levels to improve conditions and performance adequately, according to the Federal Highway Administration (FHwA). An FHwA report concludes that the nation should be investing $94 billion a year in its road and bridge system over the next 20 years. However, this investment level refers only to capital investment and does not include maintenance, research, policing or administrative expenditures.
In 1999, the total capital investment by all levels of government was $59.4 billion, well short of the needed $94 billion.
Yet even with this added attention, 58 percent of America’s urban and rural roadways are in poor, mediocre or fair condition, according to the FHwA. Although this is a slight improvement from previous years, conditions remain at substandard levels.
The FHwA ranks “poor” roads as those in need of immediate improvement. “Mediocre” roads need improvement in the near future to preserve usability. “Fair” roads will likely need improvement. “Good” roads are in decent condition and will not require improvement in the near future. “Very good” roads have new or almost new pavement.
Substandard road conditions are dangerous. Outdated and substandard road and bridge design, pavement conditions, and safety features are factors in 30% of all fatal highway accidents, according to the FHwA.
Americans’ personal and commercial highway travel continues to increase at a faster rate than highway capacity and our highways cannot sufficiently support our current or projected travel needs. Between 1970 and 1995, passenger travel nearly doubled in the U.S. and road use is expected to increase by nearly two-thirds in the next 20 years. Growth can be attributed to changes in the labor force, income, makeup of metropolitan areas and other factors.
While passenger and commercial travel on our highways has increased dramatically in the past 10 years, America has been seriously under-investing in needed road and bridge repairs and has failed to even maintain the substandard conditions we currently have. This is a dangerous trend that is affecting highway safety, as well as the health of the American economy.
According to ASCE’s 2001 Report Card, the nation’s bridges received a grade of C, an improvement from a C minus in 1998. Almost a third of America’s bridges are rated structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.
In one example from Alabama, a school bus bringing students to one Washington County school had to stop at a structurally deficient bridge, let all the kids get off and walk across so the empty -- and therefore lighter -- bus could safely cross the bridge. The children then climbed back on the bus and continued their trip. Naturally, this ritual was repeated on the way home. To avoid this, that bus now drives 15 miles out of the way.
According to the FHWA, 10.6 billion dollars are required per year for 20 years to eliminate the current backlog of bridge deficiencies and ensure acceptable levels of safety.
In 1998, 29% of the nation’s bridges were rated structurally deficient or functionally obsolete by the Federal Highway Administration. While this number remains high, it is a slight improvement over previous years. In fact, over the last 10 years the number of bridge deficiencies steadily declined from 34.6% in 1992 to 29.6% in 1998. FHwA’s strategic plan states that by 2008 less than 25% of the nation’s bridges should be classified as deficient.
A structurally deficient bridge is closed or restricted to light vehicles because of its deteriorated structural components. While not necessarily unsafe, these bridges must have limits for speed and weight. A functionally obsolete bridge has older design features and while it is not unsafe for all vehicles, it cannot safely accommodate current traffic volumes, and vehicle sizes and weights.
Though transit is not within the jurisdiction of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, it is difficult to completely discuss the problems facing the nation’s surface transportation program without mentioning it.
According to ASCE’s 2001 Report Card, the grade for transit declined from a C to a C minus. While transit bus and rail facilities have improved in recent years and new systems are being built, those improvements can’t keep up with the heavy strain placed on the system by rapidly increasing ridership, which has increased by 15 percent since 1995 -- even faster than aviation or highway transportation.
Capital spending must increase 41% just to maintain our transit system at its present level of service. But we need to do more than that. Many transit systems were designed to transport workers from the suburbs to jobs in urban centers – a pattern that has now shifted to include suburb-to-suburb commutes as well. In order to reduce highway congestion and the associated pollution, we need to build a flexible, coordinated transportation system. Improvements like that will require up to 16 billion dollars annually.
For transit there is both good news and bad news. The bad news is that while investments at both the federal and state/local levels are increasing, ridership demand is increasing at an even faster rate. The good news is that increased ridership means increased fare box revenues. However, it means additional public investment is needed. Yet, the question remains, can investment keep pace with demand?
In 2000 Americans took more than 9 billion trips on transit, and transit ridership increased by 4.5% over 1998. This continued a trend that marked the fourth straight year of ridership increases, and amounted to a 15% increase since 1995.
Transit funding is growing, but at a slower pace. Total spending for mass transit in 1997 was $25.1 billion. The federal share was $4.4 billion, state and local governments contributed $13.2 billion and operating revenue provided the rest. For FY 2000, the federal investment increased to $4.56 billion and to $6.2 billion for FY 2001. Total spending from all sources on transit capital projects for FY 1997 was $7.6 billion.
The federal government invests $7.66 billion annually in mass transit capital improvements. However, according to the Federal Transit Administration an additional $10.8 billion is needed to maintain current conditions and $16 billion to eliminate identified deficiencies. Capital spending on transit needs to increase 41% to reach $10.8 billion annually.
Even with the increased investment, many people in the U.S. have little or no access to transit at all. The Federal Transit Administration reports that 25% of the nation’s urban population does not have pedestrian access to transit. In addition, 30% of the nation’s non-metropolitan counties have no transit service at all. This can prevent those without motor vehicles from participating in the economy, places the financial burden of automobile ownership on many low income families, and adds unnecessary automobile trips to our nation’s congested streets and highways.
There are substantial benefits to the taxpayer in exchange for public investment in transit infrastructure. Transit provides basic mobility for those lacking a motor vehicle or who are unable to drive. It promotes location efficiency and reduces other infrastructure costs by encouraging dense, multi-purpose, pedestrian-oriented urban development. Transit is more energy efficient on a per-person basis than the automobile. Finally, and perhaps most important, it provides an environmental benefit. By reducing passenger car traffic transit reduces air, noise, and water pollution precisely where those reductions are needed most, in major urban areas.
The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that:
According to the Department of Transportation, the estimated average annual investment required to maintain the same physical conditions and operating performance of the nation’s transit systems as in 1997, by replacing and rehabilitating deteriorated assets and expanding capacity to accommodate expected transit passenger growth, is $10.8 billion. The cost to improve conditions and performance is estimated to be $16 billion.
Establishing a sound financial foundation for future surface transportation improvements is an essential part of the reauthorization of the surface transportation program. TEA-21 provided record funding levels to the states and significant improvements have been made to our nation’s infrastructure. In spite of these notable efforts, the nation’s surface transportation system will require an even more substantial investment. United States Department of Transportation (DOT) data reflects the fact that an investment of $50 billion per year would be needed just to preserve the system in its current condition. With funding as the cornerstone of any attempt to reauthorize TEA-21 it is imperative that a variety of funding issues be advanced as part of ASCE’s overall strategy.
ASCE supports total annual funding of $40 billion to $50 billion for the federal-aid highway program. To achieve this level, ASCE supports an increase of six cents per gallon in the federal user fee on gasoline. This would raise approximately $10.2 billion a year, of which an estimated $8.4 billion in new revenues would be available in direct financing for federal-aid highway projects annually. The remainder — approximately $1.8 billion annually — would be directed to federal transit programs. These increases are desperately needed.
ASCE supports the following goals for increasing our infrastructure investment.
· A 6 cent increase in the user fee with one cent dedicated to infrastructure safety and security. These new funds should be distributed between highways and transit using the formula approved in TEA-21.
· The user fee on gasoline should be indexed to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to preserve the purchasing power of the fee.
· The Transportation Trust Fund balances should be managed to maximize investment in the nation’s infrastructure.
· Congress should preserve the current firewalls to allow for full use of trust fund revenues for investment in the nation’s surface transportation system.
· The reauthorization should maintain the current funding guarantees.
· Congress should stop diverting 2.5 cents of the user fee on ethanol to the General Fund, and put it back into the Highway Trust Fund.
· Make the necessary changes to alter the Revenue Aligned Budget Authority (RABA) to decrease the volatility of the estimates from year to year and ensure a stable user fee based source of funding.
· The current flexibility provisions found in TEA-21 should be maintained. The goal of the flexibility should be to establish a truly multi-modal transportation system for the nation.
First to be addressed is the issue of raising the user fee on motor fuels. While the gas tax is an important element of the current revenue stream feeding the Federal Highway Trust Fund, it continues to erode in value due to its inherent inelastic nature. Two strategies must be advanced to remedy this condition. First, raise the gasoline user fee by six cents. This would provide a much needed infusion of funding towards the $50 billion per year need. In tandem with raising the motor fuel tax, ASCE believes that it is important to shore up the weakness of the motor fuel tax and its inability to retain value over the long term by adding a provision to the law that would index it based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI). This would allow the rate to adjust and reflect the current economic conditions of the nation.
As the needs of the users change so must the priorities of the nation’s transportation owners and operators. Safety and security have always been important but have been driven to the top of the priority list by events of the last year. In response to this important need, ASCE is advancing the position that one cent of the proposed six cent increase in the motor fuel tax be directed towards safety and security projects as deemed appropriate by the transportation agencies administering the funds.
Important provisions of TEA-21 are embodied in the principles of Revenue Aligned Budget Authority (RABA) and firewalls. RABA was established to ensure that the Federal Highway Trust Fund revenues would be spent in accordance with the rate at which they were deposited into the fund. Over the life of TEA-21 it has allowed states to construct many projects with these additional monies that would have otherwise languished in the trust fund. In addition, with the establishment of firewalls on the Federal Highway Trust Fund, a condition was created wherein the states could count on their funds in a long term investment strategy. This has eliminated the fear that some major projects would fall victim to various budget strategies at the national level.
Any transportation legislation must have two fundamental philosophies to build upon. First is the issue of equity. Some measure of equity was accomplished through the establishment of minimum guarantees. This provision of TEA-21 raised the return to the states to a minimum level in order to bring greater equity to the donor/donee situation that exists across the country. In addition, a commitment to spend the maximum amount possible from the Federal Highway Trust Fund was an important part of this legislation. Positive, proactive management of the trust fund balance will be essential to addressing the critical transportation needs facing our nation today.
Even with increases in the gasoline user-fee, it is likely that tax-based revenues will not be sufficient to keep pace with the nation's transportation needs.
There is a compelling need for enhanced funding, to a large extent through user-oriented fees that have been demonstrated to be a well-accepted and equitable source of infrastructure financing. In the case of surface transportation, federally sponsored studies demonstrate the need for higher levels of investment. An additional challenge is to convince our citizens and our elected leaders that we must either "pay now” or "pay later", and that paying now is much more cost-effective and prudent in the long run.
Innovative financing techniques can greatly accelerate infrastructure development and can have a powerful economic stimulus effect compared to conventional methods. This is the current approach in South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Florida, and Texas, where expanded and accelerated transportation investment programs have been announced. Innovative financing techniques, including toll road-based funding, figure heavily in several of these state programs.
The innovative programs in TEA-21 have been a good start, but more needs to be done to expand their scope, and new programs or approaches must be introduced. We must find new and innovative ways to finance the critical transportation infrastructure needs of the nation.
ASCE supports the innovative financing programs and advocates making programs available to all states where appropriate. Additionally, the federal government should make every effort to develop new programs.
ASCE supports the following changes to enhance the existing programs:
Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA)
· The TIFIA process for review, approval and negotiation is regarded as burdensome, and could be streamlined.
· TIFIA projects have a minimum eligibility threshold of $100 million and consideration could be given to lowering this to $50 million to expand the pool of projects.
· TIFIA loans could be "fully subordinated". Current TIFIA legislation is written to subordinate TIFIA loans to other creditors. However, in the event of liquidation/default, the TIFIA loan advances to parity status with other creditors. This is known as the "springing lien" provision. It is thought by some that this has limited the availability of other credit. The issue is controversial, with pros and cons on both sides, but reform should be seriously considered.
State Infrastructure Banks (SIBs)
· With the exception of five states (Texas, Rhode Island, Florida, Missouri, and California), TEA-21 did not permit further capitalization of SIBs with federal funds. It is felt that this has suppressed SIB activity.
· Federal regulations still apply to loan funds that are repaid to the bank, encumbering SIB funded projects with federal regulatory requirements.
Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicles (GARVEEs)
· Increase the flexibility of GARVEE bond repayment methods. For example, utilize the total apportionment amount as a source of repayment (i.e., all funding categories), so that no particular funding category is overburdened.
New programs for consideration as part of the next reauthorization are:
· Increased use of user fees, tolls, value pricing, and HOT lanes.
· Possible indexing of highway trust fund motor fuels tax to inflation.
· Establishing a true multimodal funding program (i.e., funds can be used interchangeably for rail, highway, freight, intermodal facilities, etc.).
· Tax credit bonds, private activity bonds, and tax-exempt bonds for privately developed projects.
Long-term Viability of Fuel Taxes for Transportation Finance
ASCE supports the need to address impacts on future surface transportation funding and believes that provision should be made in the next surface transportation authorizing legislation to explore the viability of the most promising options to strengthen this funding. In particular, the impacts of fuel cell technology should be studied as well as how to create a mileage based system for funding our nation’s surface transportation system as this technology comes to market and lessens the nation’s dependence on gasoline as a fuel source for automobiles.
Fuel taxes have long been the mainstay of transportation infrastructure finance, but their future is now uncertain. In many states, there is a strong reluctance to raise fuel taxes, and some state legislatures have even reduced taxes to compensate for the sharp increase in average gasoline prices over the last two years. Many localities and states are supplementing or replacing fuel taxes with other sources, such as sales taxes and other general revenue sources. There is also a growing trend to use additives to gasoline for environmental reasons. The most prominent additive, ethanol, enjoys a federal exemption from fuel taxes that reduces federal and state trust fund revenues by some several billion dollars annually. Looking ahead, a slow but steady increase in fleet efficiency--perhaps due to increased market penetration by electric, fuel cell, or hybrid technologies--would reduce the revenue per mile of use generated by users. Whereas cleaner-burning fuels and increased fuel efficiency are desirable policy goals in their own right, particularly in regard to global warming, they may reduce the reliability of fuel taxes in the future.
A helpful first step in this process will be the Transportation Research Board’s recently initiated Study on Future Funding of the National Highway System, which will describe the current policy framework of transportation finance and evaluate options for a long-term transition to sources other than fuel taxes. The goals of the study are to: (1) determine the extent to which alternatives to fuel taxes will be needed in the next two decades or so; (2) analyze the pros and cons of different alternatives in terms of political feasibility, fairness, and cost; (3) suggest ways in which barriers to these alternatives might be overcome; (4) recommend ways in which the efficiency and fairness of the fuel tax could be enhanced, and (5) recommend, as necessary, a transition strategy to other revenue sources. The study's first task, to be summarized in an interim report, will provide one or more scenarios to illustrate the time span during which petroleum-based gasoline availability and cost might reduce fuel tax revenues. The interim report has been requested to provide insight to those parties involved in the development of the surface transportation reauthorization legislation, particularly with regard to projections of fuel tax revenues during the next reauthorization cycle. The study will also provide estimates of trends in expenditures for transportation infrastructure from sources other than the fuel tax.
C. Life Cycle Cost & Surface Transportation Design
The use of Life-Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) principles will raise the awareness of clients of the total cost of projects and promote quality engineering. Short-term design cost savings which lead to high future costs will be exposed as a result of the analysis. In the short-term the cost of projects will increase; however, the useful life of a project will increase, and there may be cost savings in operations and maintenance over the long term.
When the cost of a project is estimated only for design and construction, the long-term costs associated with maintenance, operation, and retiring a project, as well as the cost to the public due to delays, inconvenience and lost commerce are overlooked. The increasing use of bidding to select the design team has resulted in a pattern of reducing engineering effort to remain competitive, with the result of higher construction and life cycle costs.
ASCE encourages the use of Life-Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) principles in the design process to evaluate the total cost of projects. The analysis should include initial construction, operation, maintenance, environmental, safety and all other costs reasonably anticipated during the life of the project, whether borne by the project owner or those otherwise affected.
D. Integrated Truck and Highway Design
Truck sizes and weights need to be viewed in the context of major changes in cargo movement caused by the deregulation of the truck, railroad and aviation industries. Changes are continuing and will have profound impacts on the highway industry. Thus, while the use of larger and heavier trucks improves the productivity of the trucking industry and reduces the cost of transporting commodities, such vehicles also affect highway safety and accelerate deterioration of highway pavements and bridges.
History documents a continuing trend toward larger trucks and smaller passenger vehicles along with significantly increasing truck volumes. The safety issue and highway pavement and geometric design aspects of mixing large trucks and smaller passenger vehicles will continue to be a subject of importance to highway administrators and designers.
State limits for weights may not differ from the federal maximums on the Interstate system except where "grandfather" provisions allow heavier combinations. Realistically, these trucks must also use highways which are not a part of the Interstate system for access. Many miles on the National Highway System do not meet the standards to qualify for the designated highway network. There are many miles of state and local roads which are even more deficient in meeting the standards of geometric and structural capability. States should balance the need for access to widely dispersed industrial and commercial sites with the need to protect inadequate road segments.
Increases in truck sizes and weights impact negatively on the structural life and geometric adequacy of the present road network. Users of the transportation system, both the general public and the trucking industry, will experience reduced service levels, delays, increased vehicle wear and operation costs and reduced safety. These negative impacts must be balanced against productivity gains and reduced commodity costs. Highways can be designed and constructed to accommodate various truck sizes and weights. Additional maintenance can be provided to sustain the pavements, capacity and safety of the system. Trucks can be designed to reduce axle loadings, enhance productivity and improve safety. Truck safety can also be enhanced through improved inspection, enforcement and operator safety programs.
Thus, highways and trucks can be designed and operated to improve their interaction, protect the highway investment and enhance safety. Industry and government cooperation in research, testing and evaluation can identify ways to improve trucking efficiency and safety while protecting the public investment in the highway system.
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports a program where:
· Truck and highway design should be coordinated through joint research activities, such as in the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP), and others. ASCE urges Congress, the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the state transportation agencies, and the trucking industry to form these strong cooperative relationships.
· New and reconstructed roadways should be structurally, geometrically, and environmentally designed to support modern truck sizes and weights, and to insure the safe operation of the system.
· Truck designers should consider the effects of vehicle configuration and suspension systems on pavement and bridge performance. Manufacturers should also consider the effects of these factors on the safe operation of the vehicle in mixed traffic.
· Industry and government should ensure that trucks meet legal size and weight limitations and are safely maintained and operated.
E. Intermodal Facilities
TEA-21 continues a surface transportation program with flexible funding for highway, transit and other modal facilities. Traditional transportation practice inhibits attainment of a truly intermodal process because of customary approaches and philosophies that support the modal orientation of agencies, the lack of connections among modes, the inequities in federal matching ratios for different modes, and the consolidation of funding for multimodal projects.
A primary emphasis of passenger intermodalism is to facilitate connections between the private automobile and other access modes and public transportation systems. For example, park-and ride facilities provide critical connections for mass transit commuters using automobiles for a portion of their trips.
The movement of freight from origin to destination is increasingly multimodal. Most freight is carried by trucks for final delivery, making planning the connections between highways and other modes critical to efficient freight movement.
TEA-21 continues to highlight intermodalism. Increased intermodalism is accomplished by statewide and metropolitan planning organizations, management systems and compliance with the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 (CAAA). Federal regulations explicitly state that "each State ... carry out a continuing, comprehensive, and intermodal statewide transportation planning process," and that metropolitan transportation plans and programs shall "lead to the development and operation of an integrated intermodal transportation system that facilitates the efficient, economic movement of people and goods."
and the CAAA have changed the way transportation plans have been developed from
a mode by mode to an intermodal basis.
Programs of the federal, state and local governments should maintain and strengthen the TEA-21 provisions and funding mechanisms to consider a wide range of multimodal options and new technologies in the development of transportation plans, programs and projects.
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports the vision of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) in the development of "a National Intermodal Transportation System that is economically efficient, environmentally sound, provides the foundation for the Nation to compete in the global economy and will move people and freight in an energy efficient manner." Support for partnerships among the federal, state and local governments, with various citizens, groups and firms from the private sector are essential to further the intermodal goals of TEA-21.
F. Operations and Maintenance of the Nation’s Surface Transportation Infrastructure
There is a clear and present need for an increased focus on transportation operations and maintenance at all levels – federal, state, regional, and local. This need is based on several factors:
· An aging transportation infrastructure.
· Growing congestion and incident problems are causing transportation system performance to be a top priority in many areas of the country.
· Capacity constraints and costs of new construction are forcing us to look at alternative solutions and place a premium on maintaining and improving the existing transportation system.
· Customers desire travel choices, better information, and increased reliability to meet their mobility needs.
· An efficient and responsive transportation system is critical to meeting homeland security priorities.
An increased focus on transportation operations functions can enhance performance of the transportation system, for example:
· Routine traffic and transit operations;
· Public safety responses;
· Planned construction disruptions;
· Incident management;
· Network and facility management;
· Traveler and shipper information; and
· Bicycle and pedestrian mobility.
The Department of Transportation should encourage local matching and innovative funding. The federal government has a role in exploring and promoting best practices related to innovative funding for operations and maintenance.
ASCE supports a strong federal role in the nation’s transportation system and strongly endorses federal leadership in increasing the focus on transportation operations and maintenance, thereby enhancing the performance of and preserving our investment in the transportation system. Reauthorization of TEA-21 should accomplish the following regarding Operations and Maintenance:
· Support and assist homeland security initiatives. Transportation operations and homeland security share many of the same goals and functions. Resource sharing (e.g. communications infrastructure, traffic control centers) and joint planning are appropriate. Transit security and preparedness, international border security, asset security and tracking, vulnerability assessment, planning, and creation of system redundancy are important transportation priorities for homeland security.
· Support and assist state and local agencies. Beyond establishing transportation operations and maintenance as a national priority, the Federal role should be to support and assist state and local entities in accomplishing related goals. This includes support of research and development, provision of tools, promotion of best practices, and enhancement of education and training at all levels.
· Provide flexible funding. Flexible funding approaches are important components to supporting operations and maintenance needs. Expanding funding eligibility for operations and maintenance programs, enabling direct funding to local and regional operating agencies, public-private partnerships or outsourcing, and simplifying and clarifying federal funding processes are important actions.
· Recognize that the private sector has much to offer in management and technical skills in operations and maintenance. Public-private partnerships may provide enhanced operations and management programs.
· Specific programs. In addition to flexible funding, several programs should be considered for targeted funding:
· Homeland security initiatives related to transportation
· Incident management programs
· Implementation of infostructure for data collection and management
· Provision of real-time information to and from customers
· Support for regional cooperation and partnerships
· Programs to alleviate bottlenecks.
As Congress grapples with the reauthorization of the nation’s surface transportation program ASCE recommends that the following concepts guide the process:
· Expanding infrastructure investment.
· Enhancing infrastructure delivery.
· Maximizing infrastructure effectiveness.
Unless we act now, the problem will only get worse because road use is expected to increase by nearly two-thirds in the next 20 years.
The lack of adequate investment in America’s infrastructure has left us with a vast backlog of deteriorated facilities that no longer meet our nation’s increasing demands.
To remedy America's current and looming problem, ASCE estimated in 2001 a $ 1.3 trillion investment in all categories of infrastructure over the next five years and called for a renewed partnership among citizens, local, state and federal governments, and the private sector.
 To read ASCE’s “Reauthorizing the Nation’s Surface Transportation Program: A Blueprint for Success,” visit www.asce.org/govrel/tea3
 “2002 Urban Mobility Report,” Texas Transportation Institute, Texas A&M University, http://mobility.tamu.edu
  U.S. Dept. of Transportation (DOT), 1999 Status of the Nation’s Highways, Bridges, and Transit: Conditions and Performance, 2000.
 U.S. Department of Transportation, 1999 Status of the Nation’s Highways, Bridges, and Transit: Conditions and Performance, May 2000.
 American Society of Civil Engineers, Policy Statement 451, “Life-Cycle Cost Analysis,” 1999.
 For a more technical discussion of the truck weight issue please see: Ghosn, Michael, “Development of Truck Weight Regulations Using Bridge Reliability Model,” Journal of Bridge Engineering, American Society of Civil Engineers, November 2000, and Ghosn, Michael, and Moses, Fred, “Effect of Changing Truck Weight Regulations on U.S. Bridge Network, Journal of Bridge Engineering, American Society of Civil Engineers, November 2000.
 American Society of Civil Engineers, Policy Statement 276, “Integrated Truck and Highway Design,” 2000.
 American Society of Civil Engineers, Policy Statement 149, “Intermodal Transportation Systems,” 2002.
 American Society of Civil Engineers, Policy Statement 495, “Operations and Maintenance of Transportation Systems,” 2002.