ON-Lion Letter

"[T]oday's transportation system requires another series of all-purpose modernizations -- reforms intended not to prefer one mode of travel or set of destinations over others but to better allow people to make the choices they prefer," according to the newest policy-briefing book in the Room to Grow series from the Conservative Reform Network and the Conservative Reform Policy Center (CRPC).  

Modernizing American Transportation Policy was researched and written by David Levinson, the Richard P. Braun/TCS Chair in Transportation in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo-Engineering at the University of Minnesota, where he also directs the Networks, Economics, and Urban Systems (NEXUS) research groupThe Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee substantially supports the Room to Grow series.

"Several challenges confront our transportation system," Levinson writes -- including deterioration, congestion, pollution, funding and financing, and management.

"The way we think about transportation policy too often ignores the bulk of these problems, or at best is focused only on underdevelopment and aging infrastructure -- both of which point toward new investments that would be financially beneficial to developers, local governments, and other powerful interests," he continues.

Levinson makes five proposals.  First, road pricing that requires travelers to pay for the roads they use should be phased in, automated, and include electric vehicles.  Second, the national Highway Trust Fund should be maintained with monies dedicated to that specific purpose.  Those funds should not be used to for highway expansion or new projects.

Third, states should be permitted to form independent Road Enterprises that would manage roads that are part of the National Highway System.  Fourth, today’s mass-transit subsidies should be replaced with transportation vouchers for the neediest.

Finally, barriers to the development and use of autonomous (self-driving) vehicles should be removed and avoided.

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