AASTHO issues top ten list for 2011

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The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) released a top ten list of transportation issues and topics that loom at the local, state, and federal levels in 2011:

  • Enacting a long-term transportation bill that will keep America moving. Rep. John Mica (R-FLA), new chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has said he would like a new bill ready for consideration in the spring.
  • Paying for the transportation system we need. Work is expected to continue in the next Congress to adopt a series of sustainable funding sources for transportation infrastructure; identify state and federal responsibilities for the funding of transportation; and create innovative financing options such as infrastructure banks, public-private partnerships or subsidized bonding programs.
  • Ensuring safer roads. Toward Zero Deaths, a national roadway safety effort, will be unveiled in 2011 and will take a comprehensive approach that combines aspects of new technology, roadway design, law enforcement, and cultural change to achieve this goal.
  • Moving on high-speed rail grants. State DOTs are working closely with railroads, Amtrak, and the Federal Railroad Administration to deliver on $10.5 billion in investment in high-speed and intercity passenger rail improvements.
  • Bringing modernization and new technologies to the transportation network. 2011 could mark the beginning of the era of smart cars, smart roads and smart construction.
  • Moving freight to keep our communities more competitive in the global economy. 2011 could also be the year in which the United States adopts a national multi-modal freight plan.
  • Increasingly assertive environmental regulations. State departments of transportation are looking closely at their existing programs and many are instituting promising practices to address the challenges of stormwater runoff and air quality issues.
  • Social Media continues to rock the transportation world. To better communicate with travelers, state DOTs plan more targeted use of social media, with better communication and information being the end result.
  • New support systems to bolster renewable and reliable energy sources. AASHTO is working to integrate plug-in electric vehicles with the U.S. electricity grid, nationwide.
  • Wrapping up Recovery Act projects. With no additional funding coming to states for transportation projects, what’s ahead for small (and large) transportation construction businesses and their workers in 2011?  And how will state DOTs respond to their backlog of aging road, bridge, and transit projects?

“It’s important to remember that for every dollar that we don’t spend today to preserve highways, five years from now it will cost us $7,” said John Horsley, AASHTO’s executive director. “In addition, President Obama wants exports to lead our national economic recovery. But you can’t move goods competitively to markets without a solid aviation, water, and rail system, and if we let those systems decline further, we won’t be able to sustain that export-led growth.”