Transportation for America unveils its Blueprint for Reform on Capitol HillMay 11, 2009
By Andrew Bielak
|BlueprintRelease6 Originally uploaded by Transportation for America
|Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell delivers the keynote at this morning’s Capitol Hill briefing marking the release of The Route to Reform Blueprint.
With Congress preparing to write the bill that will determine the next six years of transportation spending, Transportation for America today released a detailed plan to restructure the nation’s transportation program in order to build a smart, safe and clean transportation system that provides real choices to all Americans.
If our platform, released in February, lays out the vision and goals for America’s transportation system, then the Transportation for America Blueprint contains the detailed directions for getting there.
The Route to Reform: Blueprint for a 21st Century Federal Transportation Program will serve as T4 America’s proposal for the policies and financing structures necessary to achieve real transformational change in America’s transportation system. (We’ll be highlighting and explaining pieces of the Blueprint here over the coming weeks — it’s a lot to digest at once.)
Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell — a co-chair of the Build America’s Future campaign and one of the leading voices calling for a renewed transportation system – gave the event’s keynote speech in the same committee where the transportation bill will be written and considered first by Chairman Oberstar’s House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Gov. Rendell was followed by a panel that included James Corless, director of the Transportation for America Campaign; Elaine Clegg, Special Projects Director for Idaho Smart Growth and and city council member in Boise; Astrid Glynn, former Commissioner of the New York State Department of Transportation; Andrew Cotugno, the director of planning for Metro in Portland, Oregon; and Ronald Kilcoyne, the General Manager/CEO of Greater Bridgeport Transit Authority.
Governor Rendell kicked off the event by praising T4 America’s vision for the future while urging advocates and experts to fight tooth and nail to push for a 21st Century transportation system.
“This report couldn’t be more correct when it says this is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Gov. Rendell said.
“If we don’t take advantage of this opportunity…nothing will change, and we’ll just bump along, funding some good projects almost by accident, some mediocre projects and some terrible projects. We won’t have national policy, we won’t move the ball forward, and we won’t do something that will improve our economic competitiveness – we’ll just keep moving along the way we’ve been moving along, and not solving any problems.”
Thankfully, Gov. Rendell echoed T4 America’s optimism in envisioning a brighter future for our national economy that could rest on a revitalized transportation system.
He called attention to a factory outside Harrisburg, Pennsylvania that produces railroad ties and could build a second plant and double its workforce if the country committed to building an intercity rail system. Calling The Route to Reform a “very thorough, very thought-provoking, and very detailed report,” the Governor noted that all the great ideas for building a modern transportation system won’t go anywhere without a sustained and powerful campaign to back them up.
“Every one of us has to fight,” he said. “Let’s touch every media outlet, and get local support among mayors, and councilman and state senators, let’s get everybody talking about infrastructure and how this is the opportunity of a lifetime.”
|BlueprintRelease20 Originally uploaded by Transportation for America
|T4 America Campaign Director James Corless holds a hot-off-the-presses copy of The Route to Reform. View more photos from today’s event in the Flickr set.
After Rendell’s remarks, the panelists delved into the details of the report with a detailed discussion of the Blueprint, laying out the campaign’s proposals for a drastically reformed program with clear national objectives and concrete, accountable performance measures.
Download the full report, the executive summary, or the press release with more details about today’s briefing at t4america.org/blueprint.