July 16, 2012 — So, how many of you read the MAP-21 legislation I gave you last week? Probably not many of you, right? It took me a while, but I finished reading and summarizing the key points contained in MAP-21, the new federal transportation legislation. MAP-21 stands for Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century and you will be hearing a lot about this bill for months to come. Click here to read my summary. The legislation is long on what it is we have to do, that is pretty clear. The state and the region have to develop a freight plan. Transit operators have to develop asset management plans. We have to measure, measure, measure everything (that is what my dietician told me too!) to see if the condition of pavements, bridges, and safety is getting better (or not) as a result of our investment choices.
The good stuff – the how we are suppose to do all of this, is yet to come. What are the requirements of this freight plan? What are the performance measures we have to use? Many of these and other decisions are to be made in a process that includes the regions, the state, and the federal government through the regulatory process; the federal secretary of transportation has up to 18 months to develop the specifics. So, it could be a while until we know all of the “how.”
This legislation has lots of good stuff in it. The consolidation of many federal programs makes a lot of sense. I know many of the interest groups would challenge me on this, but there were just too many small federal programs that were underfunded. The increased emphasis on traffic safety is also a good thing, as is development of a national freight program.
So, be patient. Get ready for guidance, clarification, regulations, conferences, Webinars, and papers designed to help us develop and understand this legislation. SEMCOG will be sure you are aware of every opportunity to participate and learn. After you have read the summary, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions and I will do my best to answer them.
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