The current political climate in Washington makes major reforms difficult. Yet there are tasks, some bold and sweeping, some targeted and incremental, the federal government can and must undertake to help states and metropolitan areas rebalance America’s economy.
For one, the federal government needs to take action on transportation infrastructure. This policy brief proposes a positive, affirmative proposal for reauthorizing the existing federal surface transportation law for two full years at its current funding level with several key reforms. These include: federal performance measures in safety and system-wide asset management; a new partnership with metro areas that raise their own revenue that reduces bureaucracy and accelerates project delivery; and better coordination of existing federal credit assistance programs. Such reforms are intended to set the stage for a truly transformative six-year bill in 2013.