D.C. Streetsblog had a list of seven questions to ask as the Transportation Bill conference was underway on Tuesday. I think the problem with their questions are that they are too focused on the sausage making rather than the content. It’s disappointing, I suppose, that such an insightful organization such as Streetsblog can fall victim to the back and forth ball game of politics when so much in transportation is on the line. Perhaps I am naive, but if I had the opportunity, these are the seven questions I would like to ask of the Transportation Committees:
- How will public transportation fare in the bill after being practically decapitated in the last round of talks?
- How do we handle the overwhelming state of good repair issues impacting all transportation infrastructure?
- How does the bill recognize the long (and short) term societal trends towards transportation that does not include the automobile.
- Does high-speed rail have a future?
- How will the bill address critical operational funding shortfalls (not to mention capital) that transit agencies are facing?
- How will the bill address the structural financial problems facing the Highway Trust Fund?
- Will there be a push towards alternative user fees to fund transportation infrastructure?
That’s just the tip of the iceberg.