An interim policy report on financing for the nation's transportation infrastructure recognizes intermodal connections as well as highway capacity as being a key to the nation's competitiveness. The report from the National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission says that "inadequate intermodal facilities hinder optimal use of truck and rail modes to move goods." Noting that local funding is often inadequate, it says that national financing approaches should address these problems.
The shortfall in transportation infrastructure financing promises to get worse in coming years, with total revenue predicted to fall 21 percent below the level of funds needed to adequately maintain the existing system, and 35 percent below that needed to improve the system and solve many of the performance problems, the report says.
The challenge lies in identifying adequate resources for highway, transit and other surface infrastructure investment, it says. "We must both strengthen current funding mechanisms and identify promising new ones. Within that context, there may be solutions that are more easily adaptable to one mode or another. The question is how best to ensure that adequate resources are provided to address all of the relevant modal needs."
The Financing Commission was established by Congress in 2005. Its charge is to analyze the funding challenge at the federal level and provide recommendations to the Congress and the Executive Branch for improving methods for financing system maintenance and improvements. The interim report does not make recommendations but sets out the scope of the problem and possible solutions. A final report and recommendations will be completed by April 2009, which is the deadline set in the commission's enabling legislation.
"With this interim report we intend to inform stakeholders of our efforts to date, to involve them in our process and to solicit their feedback in our effort to produce constructive, specific and well-founded recommendations."
For a copy of the commission's interim report, click here:
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