77th Annual Meeting

METROPOLITAN MOBILITY IMPROVEMENTS THROUGH SUCCESSOR LEGISLATION TO SAFETEA-LU

WHEREAS, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), the multi-year federal surface transportation law, is due to expire September 30, 2009; and

WHEREAS, this law was the second renewal of the 1991 ISTEA law, the landmark transportation reform statute that provided state and local decision-makers with added flexibility to develop and fund a range of transportation solutions, reduced modal bias in federal planning and funding rules, expanded public participation in shaping transportation investment programs, allowed increased focus on multi-modal investments, and extended greater decision-making authority to local elected officials served by Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), key features that were largely retained in the 1998 TEA-21 law and the 2005 SAFETEA-LU; and

WHEREAS, unlike federal transit resources which generally are structured to flow to local, regional, and state agencies providing transit services based on passengers served, existing law continues to vest states with broad authority to decide how other federal transportation funds are invested within the state; and

WHEREAS, there exist limited or no federal standards to measure and report on performance and outcomes, distribute funds equitably among local areas or regions within the state, or target resources to specific national goals such as reducing metropolitan congestion and improving air quality; and

WHEREAS, even though metropolitan areas comprise 80% of the nation's population and account for more than 85% of employment, income, and production of goods and services, the state suballocation of federal highway funds to metropolitan areas consistently and dramatically fails to reflect the relative population, vehicle miles traveled, and economic output of those areas; and

WHEREAS, the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Commission recommendations urged reform to ensure that metropolitan mobility needs are addressed through a new Metropolitan Mobility Program;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors calls on Congress to incorporate reforms in successor legislation to SAFETEA-LU that increase direct investment and strengthen decision-making authority at the metropolitan level; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Congress should establish a new Metropolitan Mobility Program focused on the nation's large metropolitan areas that provides funding supplemental to regular highway and transit allocations; distributed based on a formula that reflects size, transportation needs, and economic activity; flexible in modal applications; directing project selection based on coordination with land use and demonstrating improved mobility of goods and people, energy consumption, and environmental impacts; requiring performance standards, measurements, and reporting on those outcomes; and vesting decision-making in a broader Metropolitan Mobility Authority that directly involves Mayors and exercises project selection authority over all federal transportation funds expended in the region; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Congress should raise the percentage of formula funding dedicated to the Surface Transportation Urban Program, to assure that intrastate funding is allocated more in proportion with the relative size, transportation utilization, and and economic output of those urbanized areas; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Congress should reauthorize the Projects of National and Regional Significance program, ensure that multi-modal and transit projects are eligible for funding, and not include congressionally-directed projects in order to restore the competitive intent of the program; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Congress should consider modifications in decision-making processes of MPOs that strengthen the regional targeting of resources for the greatest return on investment, such as MPO participation and voting structures; scope of authority over federal transportation funds expended in the region; and project selection criteria using performance-based assessments for achieving national economic, mobility, and environmental goals.