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What will be in the next highway reauthorization?

Updated: Nov 26, 2019

The clock has started ticking on for Congress to reauthorize the surface transportation program. The transportation industry has already draft policy considerations. As a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Transportation Policy Committee, I had the opportunity to participate in authoring “Authorization of the Nation’s Surface Transportation Program: ASCE’s Blueprint for Success.”

There are typical recommendations such as raising the gas tax and innovative financing. However, also included are statements around safety. Three items that may be of interest to urban and transportation planners are:

  • Vision Zero – Under optimizing infrastructure investments, Vision Zero is the first statement. ASCE passed their first Vision Zero statement a little over two years ago. In the Blueprint there is language around dedicated funding for safety projects that should not be reallocated to other projects.

  • Land Use Planning & Resilience – As weather events become more severe in the changing climate, we have to build systems that are resilient. ASCE calls for improving land use planning and supporting new materials and technologies.

  • Passenger Rail – ASCE supports expanding passenger rail including high speed rail.

The longer version of the document, which is internal to the organization has language around people walking, biking, and using public transportation. As the discussion around the next highway bill continues, I encourage all of you to work with your professional organizations and advocacy groups to provide input for what should and should not be in the next bill.

Veronica O. Davis, PE is a transportation guru who uses her knowledge to spark progressive social change. As Co-owner and Principal of Nspiregreen, she is also responsible for the management of the major urban planning functions such as transportation planning, policy development, master planning, sustainability analysis, and long range planning. In July 2012, Veronica was recognized as a Champion of Change by the White House for her professional accomplishments and community advocacy, which includes co-founding Black Women Bike. She was a member of ASCE’s Transportation Policy Committee from 2014-2019.

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