Rep. Oberstar releases notes on future of transportation programs

From the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

May 17, 2009

There is much interest in any information on the next federal transportation funding proposal. Annother clue is a handwritten outline being shown by James Oberstar (D-MN), chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. For trails advocates, one important note is that "Rec Trails" is included in Oberstar's jottings under the heading of "Smaller Formula Programs" along with "SRTS" and "Ferry Boats." This refers to the proposed streamlining of the 108 federal transportation programs into four “major formula programs:”

Oberstar's notes title the still vague proposal "The Future of Transportation." A May 5 story from Reuters quotes Oberstar, "It's a complete restructuring of the thought process, the delivery system, the delivery mechanism, and the funding for it."
In another development for this new vision, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation introduced its own bill on May 14. Titled "The Federal Surface Transportation Policy and Planning Act of 2009," it lists two key goals which would seem to promote walking and bicycling:

The central issue will still be the actual funding for the new federal transportation program. With the challenge of lower tax revenues due to declining fuel consumption, it is still uncertain where and how the transportation programs will be funded. Transportation Weekly stated that "Oberstar has refused to discuss any dollar amounts, either for specific programs or for the bill as a whole.The Oberstar proposal apparently would keep intact the Surface Transportation Program along with two set-aside programs of interest to bike/ped advocates: the Transportation Enhancements and Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality programs.

arrow Read more details and news on the reauthorization of federal transportation funding

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