Improving Metropolitan Decision Making in Transportation: Greater Funding and Devolution for Greater Accountability

Metropolitan areas, the engines of the American economy, require greater control over the transportation spending so crucial to their dynamism. As Congress debates the reauthorization of the federal transportation spending bill (TEA-21), the reforms of previous bills—devolving decision making to metropolitan areas and away from statewide agencies—need to be broadened. This brief examines recent metropolitan-level spending and finds that local control produces a more balanced and holistic transportation network. It also argues for specific policy recommendations to boost that performance while increasing accountability.