ESTABLISHING HIGHWAY AND TRANSIT PROGRAM GOALS IN TEA-21 REAUTHORIZATION

WHEREAS, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, the largest, single public works investment in the nation's history, will expire in September, 2003; and

WHEREAS, over the six years of its authorization, this legislation provides spending of more than $165 billion for core highway programs and more than $36 billion for public transit systems to the state, regional and local agencies, including transit providers; and

 

WHEREAS, The United States Conference of Mayors is interested in the reauthorization of this important transportation infrastructure measure; and

WHEREAS, the more than 1,050 member cities of the U.S. Conference of Mayors are dedicated to growing this important program; maintaining the funding guarantees in TEA-21; and streamlining the delivery of the various TEA-21 programs; and

WHEREAS, it is vitally important to preserve a strong and expanding federal investment in the surface transportation system of our county; and

WHEREAS, it has been determined from local government experience with TEA-21 that retaining the basic principals of TEA-21, including a needs based transit program will benefit local communities; and

 

WHEREAS, it has been good public policy and in our best interest to guarantee that funds collected in the Highway and Transit Trust Funds are spent for those purposes and not diverted to other government programs, and it is critical to maintain the so-called "firewalls" provision of TEA-21; and

WHEREAS, it is important to our cities and our transit systems that the public transit program continue to grow to meet the expanding investment needs of our cities; and

 

WHEREAS, it is central to our cities and our transit systems that increased local control over TEA-21 funds be seriously considered in the new law; and

 

WHEREAS, The U.S. Conference of Mayors strongly urge the development of a seamless transportation system by connecting all modal elements to ensure the efficient movement of people and goods; and

WHEREAS, a recent Texas Transportation Institution study estimates the cost of congestion in just 68 urban areas has grown from $21 billion in 1982 to $78 billion in 1999; and

WHEREAS, the length of the congestion period increased from 2 to 3 hours in 1982, to 5 or 6 hours by 1999; and

WHEREAS, it is essential that our cities have the resources to combat increasing urban congestion; and

WHEREAS, the flexibility programs built into TEA-21 have proven to be highly beneficial to our city governments; and

WHEREAS, The U.S. Conference of Mayors recognizes increased investment is needed in the federal bridge program to address the issue of the substantial backlog of deficient bridges nationally; and

WHEREAS, greater targeting of these funds to bridges owned by local government should be required so that funds go where the problems of substandard bridges are the greatest; and

WHEREAS, to maintain a level playing field between highway and transit interests it is critical that the existing matching shares of 80% federal and 20% local as stated in TEA-21 be maintained; and

WHEREAS, The U.S. Conference of Mayors recognizes the importance of local government in protecting its citizens and the nation's surface transportation infrastructure urge Congress to establish a direct funding source to local governments in order to carry out these responsibilities,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors calls upon the Administration and the Congress to build upon the strengths of TEA-21 and provide even greater flexibility and funding for local governments in the reauthorization of the bill.