Over at the Engineering News Record, former New York City traffic commissioner Sam Schwartz took to his transportation blog to extol the benefits of America Fast Forward. A lot of the issues he touches on will be familiar to Source readers. Here’s an excerpt from the piece in which Schwartz discusses how AFF could forge a new — and perhaps more sustainable — relationship between the federal government and cities:
Essentially the idea is the same as the 30/10 method: the Fed would lend sizable sums upfront to local entities with dedicated revenue streams such as sales tax proceeds. The carrot for the taxpayers is the promise that transportation projects are completed in a timely manner, in some cases that could be years, rather than decades.
There’s a carrot for Congress too: according to America Fast Forward supporters, passing legislation to enact the program can put 920,000 Americans per year building our national infrastructure without contributing to the national debt.
At a time when Democrats and Republicans are at each other’s throats on Capitol Hill, the America Fast Forward proposal is attracting bipartisan support. California’s United States Sen. Barbara Boxer, who chairs the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood both support the plan, along with Republican United States Rep. John Mica, and Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, a Republican. It also has the backing of both Thomas J. Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO.
Well said. It bears noting that Mr. Schwartz runs an engineering firm and is writing to an audience of engineers, a group that potentially stands to gain from America Fast Forward along with the rest of us.
Lastly, in case you missed it, be sure to check out our story from yesterday on how America Fast Forward could work for the Minneapolis metro area. Bonus question: Are there any cities out there that you think could use 30/10-style financing for its transit projects?
Hat tip to LA Streetsblog for posting the story in its headlines yesterday.