Senators Rockefeller (D-WV) and Lautenberg (D-NJ) recently introduced legislation that would provide concrete goals to the next round of Transportation Funding. As this article in the Washington Post notes:
"the Senate legislation decrees that the plan must reduce per capita motor vehicle miles traveled on an annual basis, reduce national surface transportation-generated carbon dioxide levels by 40 percent by 2030, and increase the proportion of national freight provided by means other than trucks by 10 percent by 2020"Not only does this prioritize transit funding, it also provides a measure against which funding can be measured and it implicitly prioritizes the funding of transit in mega regions.
Even more exiting is an article examining a hand written note leaked to the press that outlines Secretary of Transportation LaHood's vision for the new transportation bill. It notes that "The two-page outline offers a glimpse of Oberstar's vision for what he has repeatedly called a "transformational" authorization proposal that is expected to be unveiled in late May or early June.
Under the heading "the future of transportation," the framework seeks to create a new undersecretary or assistant secretary for intermodalism that would meet monthly with all modal administrators. The outline includes the phrases "national strategic plan" and "mega-projects" in the list of agencies that would take part in the monthly meetings
It also includes a consolidation of DOT's 108 programs into four "major formula programs": critical asset preservation, highway safety improvement, surface transportation program, and congestion mitigation and air quality improvement. The "surface transportation program" section suggests that metropolitan planning organizations receive suballocations based on population."