TIS, Large Cities Council Focus on Regional Transportation Planning

Article excerpt

The Transportation Infrastructure and Services (TIS) Steering Committee and Large Cities Council (LCC), met jointly in Laramie, Wyo., from September 4-6 to discuss some of the key issues surrounding transportation.

With the upcoming expiration of Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users(SAFETEA-LU), the revenue shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund, increased cost of gas and overall state of the economy and the environment, both the TIS steering committee and LCC faced the meeting with a full agenda on what's going on with transportation at the federal, state, and local levels.

The LCC, formerly known as the Central Cities Council, met on its own to review results of a survey sent out in July. The survey was developed to gauge the biggest issues for large cities in a variety of policy areas. The survey will help guide the LCC's work for the next few years.

The LCC also heard from Dr. Marc Weiss at Global Urban Development on his work on the Climate Prosperity Project. This project is in its initial phase and it is geared to educate the public on the idea that climate prosperity is vital to economic development. Their message is that rather than climate action being costly and harmful to the economy, climate protection saves everyone money by spending less on energy through increased conservation and efficiency. The Climate Prosperity Project plans to release its first-ever guidebook in October. The guidebook will provide information on how to design and implement climate change policies and programs most effectively and creatively.

Committee and council members heard from Joshua Schanck, director of transportation research, Bipartisan Policy Center, and Paul Schmid, legislative assistant, Rep. Ellen Tauscher's (D-Calif.) office about the state of transportation funding and what the outlook was like on the upcoming expiration of SAFETEA-LU.

This was followed by a panel of speakers on regional transportation planning. Christy McFarland, NLC research manager, presented an overview of regional transportation planning and how it relates to local land use decisions.

Council Member Susan Burgess, board representative to the TIS steering committee, talked about her city, Charlotte, N.C., and the regional collaboration that has taken place there. She highlighted the fact that regional transportation strategies and local land use strategies go hand in hand and the value of a regional organization, such as a metropolitan planning organization (MPO), to manage this. …