Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

NLC Calls for Local Transportation Funding to Fight Congestion

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

NLC Calls for Local Transportation Funding to Fight Congestion

Article excerpt

Speaking on behalf of the National League of Cities, Mayor William Brooks of Belle Isle, Fla., testified before the House Highways, Transit, and Pipelines Subcommittee to highlight local government transportation needs for the reauthorization of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA 21).

This hearing, "Highway and Transit Needs: The State and Local Perspective," continues a series of hearings held by the subcommittee to get stakeholder input for reauthorization of TEA 21, which expires this year.

Brooks highlighted the need for increased funding for highways and transit to help solve the number one transportation problem in America's cities--congestion.

"To advance solutions to congestion, [cities] need: more funding to local and regional government, more flexibility for local planning and programming of funds and more intermodal options to combat congestion in metropolitan areas," he said.

The Texas Transportation Institute estimates that congestion costs the country more than $67 billion per year in lost wages and fuel, and that Americans spend the equivalent of one and a half work weeks stuck in traffic each year. The average annual delay per American jumped from 11 hours in 1982 to 36 hours in 1999. Brooks emphasized that state departments of transportation, which are currently in the driver's seat of the federal highway program, have not solved congestion.

"When citizens get stuck in traffic for hours or are late to a child's soccer game, they pick up the phone and call the mayor's office to complain," he said. …

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