Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

TIS Committee Focuses on Transportation Decision Making, Financing

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

TIS Committee Focuses on Transportation Decision Making, Financing

Article excerpt

The NLC Transportation Infrastructure and Services (TIS) Steering Committee recently met in Los Angeles to follow up on priorities established at NLC's March Congressional City Conference.

Chaired by Bloomington, Minn., Councilman Steve Elkins, topics of discussion included metropolitan planning organizations and their role in transportation decision making, identifying new ways to finance federal transportation programs, federal support for livable community goals and development of high speed rail in the U.S.

Hosted by Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon, the committee heard from Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on a city initiative to seek federal support for "front-loading" financing city transit development, which the city will pay back over 30 years.

Villaraigosa noted that the city desperately needs to find other sources of revenue to fund local transportation programs in the "car capital of the world" and "first city of sprawl." With jobs in the inner core of the city and housing outside the core, the city has been aggressive in finding innovative ways to develop public transportation alternatives.

Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) CEO Hasan Ikhrata led a lively discussion on the massive coordination effort he oversees in Southern California. While unwieldy, SCAG serves as the only "forum to discuss these kinds of regional issues" and "add value to what local cities are doing." Many TIS members serve on their own metropolitan planning organizations (MPO) and were able to share their own experiences. …

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