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“Transportation 101” provides a primer on the federal transportation program

• Executive Summary (900k pdf)
• Full Document (2.2 mb pdf)

One of the primary motivations of the Transportation for America campaign is our belief in building a transportation system that meets 21st century challenges.

But understanding how current federal transportation policy works — much less how to go about changing the current system — requires a sometimes painful amount of context. We know it’s not always the easiest issue to follow and a lot of people tend to use complicated jargon and acronyms that confuse even the veterans sometimes. Advocates and legislative staffers who are new to transportation policy often have a lot of catching up to do, and it’s difficult even for folks who have been around awhile to know all the details.

So we put together “Transportation 101: An Introduction to Federal Transportation Policy” to provide some clarity and help document where we’ve been, where the money comes from, how the program works (or doesn’t work) the process of reauthorization and the new (and old) challenges facing us as Congress debates a new transportation bill.

The report was debuted and distributed during a packed briefing on Capitol Hill in the Cannon House Building this morning. We were lucky enough to have some notable panelists speaking at the event, including Roy Kienitz, Under Secretary for Policy at U.S. DOT; former Virginia Secretary of Transportation Pierce Homer; and Mayor Patrick Henry Hays of North Little Rock, Arkansas to kick it off with a short session giving an overview of the federal, state and local roles in transportation policy.

So if you want to learn more about things like the history of the federal transportation program, how the Interstate System was started, how earmarks came to be so prevalent or how the federal role in funding transportation has changed throughout the years, we hope you find Transportation 101 useful.

(And about that jargon and those acronyms…there’s a glossary in the back.)

DSC_0056 Originally uploaded by Transportation for America to Flickr.


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  2. will

    13 years ago

    Great document, it’s so much clearer than any previous explanation of our complex transportation funding system that I’ve seen.

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