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Cities are “laboratories of innovation.” Should they have more control of transportation funding?

29 Jan 2014 | Posted by | 0 Comments | , ,

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed takes a ride on a section of the Beltline trail — one of the transportation innovations that Atlanta is most proud of. Flickr photo by Cameron Adams

That was the implied assertion made by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed in a widely-circulated op-ed last week on Huffington Post.

I believe the future of solving much of our nation’s transportation problems lies within the vision and leadership we find in our cities. Providing the resources and decision-making authority increasingly to cities and their regions will yield enormous benefits not only to the nation’s mobility but to the returning health of our nation’s economy.

But is it accurate to paint today’s debate over this point as the same “age-old tug of war between state transportation officials and their city-level counterparts” about doling out money, as National Journal did in a question to their panel of transportation experts? Or is the problem more that we’re entering a new age of transportation needs armed with the last era’s transportation policies?

Our James Corless weighed in on the National Journal’s experts blog:

…We have a federal transportation establishment that is still geared toward last century’s primary challenge: to build an interstate highway system to facilitate long distance travel between centers of commerce. This century’s challenge is to keep people and goods moving within those ever-burgeoning centers, even as the existing system shows its age. If these places fail, our economy fails. It really is as simple as that.

Read the full question and comment over at National Journal.