TIS Committee Focuses on Federal Authorization, Land Use Planning

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Federal transportation authorization, public private partnerships, and transportation-land use planning were the focus of the recent meeting of NLC's Transportation, Infrastructure and Services (TIS) Steering Committee.

The steering committee met in Schaumburg, Ill., recently to work on policy issues identified at its meeting in March.

To address the upcoming expiration of the federal Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act--A Legacy for Users (SAFETEALU), the committee passed a resolution entitled "Urging the Federal Government to Create an Adequately Funded Comprehensive National Surface Transportation Plan." This resolution will be referred to the NLC Board of Directors for consideration at the Board's summer meeting.

Council Member Laura Padgett, Wilmington, N.C., chaired the committee's discussions on the need for a comprehensive national transportation plan and NLC to be up front on this issue.

"The National League of Cities represents over 19,000 cities and towns where over 70 percent of America's citizens live and, critically, even more work," Padgett said. "Local governments share the responsibility with state leaders as the owners and operators of the nation's transportation systems. As we move forward with petitioning Congress to create a national transportation plan that will address the problems with the current transportation system, it is important that they hear our message on the importance of mobility, access, land use planning, and partnerships."

The committee heard from Randy Blankenhorn, executive director of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) on the need to integrate transportation into land use planning. CMAP is a comprehensive agency that looks at how the region should function with regard to a variety of issues such as housing, transportation, environment, economic development, human services, education, and tax structure.

Blankenhorn reported that state and local governments worked together to develop a plan that would work in the region. Some of the challenges they faced were the increase in population, the creation of new jobs in the region and working with an existing transportation system while managing the influx of people.

In addition, the region already is confronting a bottleneck for freight transportation that has implications for the flow of goods in the national economy.

Blankenhorn said that by focusing on results-driven solutions and looking at the impacts of consumer decision making, CMAP was able to develop a plan and strategies for implementing the plan. It is an innovative approach that other regions are interested in emulating. …