The issue: Insufficient funding available for transportation investment
Because the federal and Illinois state motor fuel tax that funds transportation has remained at 18.4 and 19 cents per gallon respectively since the early 1990s, it has lost significant purchasing power. Though good policy, new fuel efficiency standards are leading to even further declines in revenue to fund our nation’s transportation infrastructure. We simply cannot afford to fund projects that do little to reduce hours spent in traffic, curb emissions, connect affordable homes and jobs, spur economic development or improve safety on the roads and rails.
The solution: Prioritize investments based on performance
Whether it’s a new Bus Rapid Transit route, expressway or bike path, when a transportation investment performs well at multiple levels—reducing congestion, mitigating air pollution, connecting people to vital destinations, sparking economic development—that’s performance-based transportation investing. MPC is advocating for state and federal policy reforms to link transportation funding with performance measures to prioritize investments that advance coordinated regional goals and a strong national vision for our transportation system.
State policy reform
Current Illinois law does not tie transportation spending to statewide goals or performance measures, nor does it require agencies to coordinate to achieve the highest return on an investment. MPC is a strong advocate for a statewide, data-rich, outcomes-based approach that ultimately prioritizes infrastructure investments that are most effective, accountable and transparent. We are working to revise the Ill. Dept. of Transportation's strategic planning process to be goal-driven and coordinated with regional planning efforts.
Federal policy reform
MPC is encouraged that for the first time ever, the current federal transportation authorization, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), requires the establishment of national goals, performance measures and accountability in planning and funding transportation investments. While MPC supported MAP-21, Congress missed an opportunity to make additional, significant policy changes.
The benefits: Effective, accountable, transparent and competitive investments
Advance the most effective transportation infrastructure. Criteria would not be about how much is spent where, but rather whether each investment gets us closer to our goals.
Make decision makers more accountable and the decision-making process more transparent. Criteria would make it clear to taxpayers why their tax dollars are funneled toward a specific project.
Make Illinois more competitive for federal funding. MAP-21 moved the nation closer to performance-based transportation funding, and many members of Congress are calling for even stronger investment criteria. Illinois should institute a statewide performance-based approach to be well positioned for current and future funding.
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