TIS Prepares for New Transportation Bill
Pulidindi, Julia, Nation's Cities Weekly
Nothing was left off the table as NLC's Transportation, Infrastructure and Services (TIS) steering committee met to discuss the upcoming expiration of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act--A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) and the need for a new transportation bill that would meet the needs of the country.
Councilmember Shelby Lowe hosted the steering committee in Riviera Beach, Fla., with Oscar Trevino, mayor of North Richland Hill, Texas, presiding.
Staff from the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) called into the meeting to discuss their proposal to streamline the environmental review processes. During this discussion, the state of Florida's environmental review process was highlighted as a good example of state and locals working together to ensure a fast and efficient process.
In addition, the committee heard from staff from the regional Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) office, the Palm Beach County engineer and the executive director of the Palm Beach Metropolitan Planning Organization on how the region was utilizing funding from the Recovery Act. Presenters reported on what funding was available and how projects were prioritized.
Also, the committee heard about FDOT's Efficient Transportation Decision Making, which allows for a more efficient process for planning transportation projects, conducting environmental reviews, and developing and permitting projects.
The committee also heard from the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council on some of the obstacles faced when trying to coordinate transportation and land use policies.
After that, the committee engaged in a discussion about examples from around the country of what does and doesn't work at the regional level.
Rail is a big issue this year with President Obama's push for high speed rail. …