U.S. DOT panel feels reauthorization pressure at final town hall meeting

Agency lacks specific answers, but does believe a third round of TIGER grants is on the horizon

News Streetsblog Capitol Hill July 15, 2010
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U.S. DOT officials held their final town hall meeting in an effort to gain feedback on what the next long-term highway bill should look like. Specifics of the brain trust’s strategy remained unclear, but a couple of broad targets were revealed.

With Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy Polly Trottenberg, FHWA Administrator Victor Mendez, FHWA Deputy Secretary John Porcari and Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff among those in attendance fielding questions, several pounded the panel with concerns of the future in transportation funding.

Trottenberg announced that there would likely be a third round of TIGER (Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery) program grants. The panel also stressed the need for a long-term highway bill and the importance of once and for all establishing effective project streamlining.

“The series of short-term authorizations is frustrating to us,” Porcari said.

On the transit side, Rogoff said that the U.S. DOT cannot allow existing transit systems to struggle, because all need to be in position to handle surges in demand when gas prices escalate.

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