Is it time for SAFETEA-TWO?

New proposal urges the passing of a two-year highway bill to give Congress more time to create the next six-year package

News Streetsblog Capitol Hill December 16, 2010
Printer-friendly version

Perhaps Congress just needs a little more time to think it through.

In a proposal titled “Moving Past Gridlock: A Proposal for a Two-Year Transportation Law,” Robert Puentes of the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program believes the politicians on Capitol Hill need to pass something more than highway funding extensions that expire in a matter of months.

By moving through a two-year bill, which Puentes said should be dubbed SAFETEA-TWO, Congress should be able to figure out the parameters and funding mechanisms to the next six-year transportation package. The House of Representatives recently passed a nine-month extension to SAFETEA-LU.

In his report, Puentes also makes the following suggestions:

• Model a new evaluation system for project proposals on TIGER;

• Move past the federal gas tax and create a new user-fee system;

• Put together a strategy to move freight more effectively;

• Create a national policy for road pricing;

• Offer federal incentives to encourage those at the local level to generate their own revenue streams;

• Set up a unified infrastructure financing system that would lead to a National Infrastructure Bank;

• Engage in more public-private partnerships;

• Offer more rewards for the on-time delivery of projects;

• Dedicate more federal funds for rail maintenance; and

• Reduce the legacy programs.

The two-year strategy would cover the next presidential election, and Puentes hopes with an improved economy a gas-tax increase might gain some traction.

Overlay Init