Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Quality Communities Rely on Quality Transportation. (Special Report)

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Quality Communities Rely on Quality Transportation. (Special Report)

Article excerpt

From the mid 1950s through the early 1990s, federal transportation dollars were largely spent building the Interstate Highway System. Though this system connected the entire continental United States, its effect on growth patterns in the country is undeniable.

With the completion of construction of the interstate system, the federal government dramatically changed the way the federal transportation program is administrated with the passage of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) in 1991. ISTEA empowered local governments, through the metropolitan planning process, to plan and design a transportation program to meet the needs of their communities. Additionally, ISTEA establish the concept of a seamless intermodal transportation network to link all transportation modes.

To that end, Congress made federal funding available for alternatives to the traditional highway building program of the interstate era. This landmark legislation made funding available for public transit, transportation enhancements (including bike paths and pedestrian facilities), historic preservation including the nations' scenic byways, while continuing the maintain the commitment to the efficient flow of people and goods by providing funding for the maintenance and rehabilitation of bridges and interstates.

ISTEA's successor, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), continued to embody these the principles of local control and intermodalism while building on the successes of ISTEA. TEA-21 dramatically increased funding levels for the program and helped established infrastructure investment as a vital national priority. …

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