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A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have! - Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Statement by the Bipartisan Policy Center's (BPC) National Transportation Policy Project Regarding Economic Stimulus Bill

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In response to the growing debate about a stimulus bill, the BPC's National Transportation Policy Project (NTPP) urges Congress to put Americans to work immediately on transportation investments that protect the nation's economic prosperity and competitiveness.

The likelihood that a major stimulus bill will be enacted early next year creates a unique opportunity to undertake a transportation infrastructure investment program that generates good secure jobs for American workers immediately and produces long-term growth for the nation's businesses. Transportation is essential in enabling economic activity and enhancing the productivity of businesses and workers. However, simply following historical funding approaches runs the risk of failing to use taxpayer funds wisely. Reform should accompany the stimulus effort because not all transportation investments are created equal. NTPP proposes the following guidelines for transportation stimulus funds:

-- Emphasize ready-to-go projects. Our surface transportation network
and facilities are in poor physical condition and suffer from poor
performance. With limited funds we must prioritize construction that
can be undertaken without delays and can put people to work as
promptly as possible. Experience has shown that projects that focus
on improving the operations of the existing transportation system are
often those that can be undertaken most quickly and can bring the
greatest returns, in terms of creating immediate construction and
other transportation jobs, and promoting longer-term economic growth.
-- Provide spending flexibility across all modes of transportation.
States and local authorities should have the flexibility and
discretion to invest in the transportation projects that bring the
greatest economic, environmental, and energy security returns in the
shortest possible time. Federal stimulus dollars should not be
constrained by current funding formulas that limit spending to one
form of transportation over another.
-- Hold states accountable for meeting stimulus goals. With flexibility
comes responsibility. States and localities that receive these
stimulus investments should use them to maximize near-term jobs and
long-term economic benefits. After the funds have been spent,
recipients should evaluate and report on how well the projects they
selected have achieved these goals. If the stimulus program is
extended to become part of a longer-term transportation funding
program, additional and more comprehensive performance and
accountability measures should be introduced.

The NTPP is a broad coalition of policy experts, business and civic leaders chaired by former Mayor of Detroit Dennis Archer, former New York Congressman Sherwood Boehlert, former Washington Senator Slade Gorton, and former Minnesota Congressman Martin Sabo. Its members are currently developing a long-term vision for the federal role in transportation policy, with a report due out early next year. NTPP is a project of the Bipartisan Policy Center.

About the Bipartisan Policy Center:

Former U.S. Senate Majority Leaders Baker, Daschle, Dole, and Mitchell formed the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) to develop and promote solutions that can attract the public support and political momentum to achieve real progress. The BPC acts as an incubator for policy efforts that engage top political figures, advocates, academics, and business leaders in the art of principled compromise. For more information please visit our website: http://www.bipartisanpolicy.org/

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