T4America Blog

News, press releases and other updates

Governing Mag on the compelling case for more local access to transportation dollars

As the impending insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund looms over the nation’s transportation projects, more and more local leaders are asking for the chance to be heard when it comes to doling out federal transportation money.

In this superb recent article by Governing, they reported on this growing chorus of local leaders asking Congress to give them more access to transportation dollars and give them a seat at the table as decisions are made.

Governing writes:

The 2012 federal law put more money toward big highways and less toward local roads. It cut money for bridges and roads that are not part of the National Highway System by 30 percent. Local governments own more than half of those smaller roads. The law also gives states a greater role in determining how to spend federal money on everything from run-down bridges to bike lanes and sidewalks.

Chris Abele, the county executive of Wisconsin’s Milwaukee County, said this week that the current funding system is like federal and state officials passing an envelope full of taxpayer money for transportation along a line, with localities at the end.

“Sometimes, by the time the envelope gets to us, there’s nothing left,” he said. Local officials, especially those from urban areas, worry that their top priorities could be lost or ignored at the statewide level.

Click through to read the full article.

Local officials know best what their communities need, and the Innovation in Surface Transportation Act would give those local leaders — the ones usually held accountable by their residents when roads are potholed or bridges crumbling — a seat at the table to ensure that they’re part of the decision-making process when it comes to investing those federal transportation dollars.