Federal, state and local governments and the private sector must all have flexibility to apply innovative techniques in planning, funding, financing, development, delivery, operations, management, preservation, oversight, and accountability.
The Federal government should primarily be responsible for establishing the vision for the nation's transportation system with an emphasis on transportation facilities with national and international significance for movement of people and freight. The Federal Government should encourage innovation in finance procurement and project delivery in meeting the country's transportation needs, including utilization of a variety of finance options, technologies and participation with the private sector.
States should be responsible for implementing the national vision and to deliver projects that advance state and national goals. States should have maximum flexibility to achieve goals with a limited oversight role from the Federal government. States are accountable for designing the business strategies to implement the national vision, which means making decisions on projects of statewide significance, directing statewide project planning and overseeing project procurement.
Local and regional leaders, including metropolitan planning organizations, should be responsible for resolving transportation problems that are local and regional in nature. They should have maximum flexibility to make local and regional decisions. The private sector's primary responsibility is to partner with states and local governments wherever practical at every stage in the finance, operation, design, maintenance and construction of highways.
States and regions should be encouraged (also through incentives) to invite private-sector innovation and financial resources to participate in project design, operation, delivery and financing options.
States should not be penalized for utilizing innovative solutions.
Technical interoperability across modes should be updated as technology and capabilities advance.
Federal funding categories should be consolidated and focused on meeting broad national goals. Federal program categories should be reduced to not more than 4-5 broad categories with significant national purposes.
Discretionary programs should be dissolved, and not more than the current 2.5% of the total authorization should be devoted to federal administration and research.
The federal government should identify ways to maximize freight and passenger connectivity and develop incentives for doing so.
States and local governments should be given flexibility to move financial resources among modes of transportation that best accomplish transportation goals.
The current method of financing the Federal program primarily through federal motor fuel taxes is not sustainable and will not address current and future transportation needs. The federal government should explore alternative federal financing methods.
Prior to considering any increase in Federal motor fuel taxes, the Federal government should encourage and enable States to employ business strategies and innovative finance techniques that help meet transportation goals. These may include tolling, congestion pricing, HOT lanes, vehicle miles traveled pricing and the full range of other public private partnership mechanisms to bring additional resources to solving transportation issues.
We support shifting the focus away from states' individual returns on the federal program in exchange for achieving the broader goals of significant program reform and full availability of alternative financing methods.
In order to focus on reform and innovation, states need assurance that they will have financial stability under any significantly reformed new program. Assuming that federal motor fuel taxes continue to exist at current levels, we support ensuring that each State receives no less than the percentage of its core highway funding received in FY 09, as compared to the total core highway funding distributed to all states in any given year of a future authorization.