Out of 38 projects submitted to reduce congestion along the nation's busiest interstate highway corridors, U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters recently announced the selection of 14 semi-finalists in the Corridors of the Future program. That figure will be whittled down to five this summer, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Peters said that the U.S. DOT is using this national congestion-relief effort "to fight back against the traffic that is choking our major roads." She said the Corridors of the Future effort is a progressive approach that includes transportation planning across state lines in ways that reduce congestion and preserve the efficient flow of goods and commerce across America. She went on to caution, "if we don't act today, our economy will be facing a standstill in the future."
The proposals are located on eight major transportation corridors including: I-95 between Florida and Maine; I-15 in southern California and Nevada; I-80/94 and I-90 linking Illinois, Indiana and Michigan; I-5 in California, Washington and Oregon; I-70 from Missouri to Ohio; I-69 from Texas to Michigan; I-80 in Nevada and California; and I-10 from California to Florida.
The proposals currently include various combinations of expanded highway capacity, truck-only lanes, increased freight and passenger rail development, and extensive use of innovative technologies to keep traffic moving and improve overall safety. Peters said the applicants "exhibited creativity and innovation in their initial proposals to reduce congestion." She indicated that the department looks forward to the next phase of the program in which these ideas will be further developed and refined.
The 14 projects were selected based on the potential of each to reduce congestion on the eight corridors of national and regional significance using innovative financing and project delivery techniques.
Peters said the U.S. DOT will aggressively support the development of the Corridors of the Future by accelerating permitting schedules, identifying new financing options and promoting innovative project delivery methods to "move these projects from the drawing board to completion faster than ever before."
The Corridors of the Future program is one element of the U.S. DOT's six-point National Strategy to Reduce Congestion on America's Transportation Network launched in May 2006. The overall national congestion initiative is focused on reducing traffic on highways, relieving freight bottlenecks and reducing flight delays.