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The Source for Public Transportation News and Analysis May 6, 2011
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Mayors’ Survey: Target Infrastructure Funds

A 176-city survey released May 3 by the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) calls on the federal government to give priority to metropolitan areas—home to two-thirds of U.S. residents—regarding transportation infrastructure investment.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, chair of the USCM Transportation Committee, delivered the survey findings during a recent event at the National Press Club in Washington.

“As the federal government sets priorities for long-term spending and deficit reduction, future transportation infrastructure investments should focus spending on pressing metropolitan transportation infrastructure needs as opposed to low-priority highway expansion projects such as the infamous Bridge to Nowhere,” Reed said, adding: “The long-term productivity of transportation infrastructure spending is greater when it is invested where economic growth will occur, which is in the metropolitan areas.”

Among the major findings of the USCM Metropolitan Transportation Infrastructure survey are:

* Ninety-eight percent of the mayors point to investment in affordable, reliable transportation as an important part of their cities’ economic recovery and growth;

* Ninety-three percent urge reforms in federal transportation programs to allow cities and their metropolitan areas to receive a greater share of federal funds directly;

* Absent a greater share of funding directly to cities and metropolitan areas, only 7 percent of the mayors indicate support to increase the federal gas tax;

* Ninety-six percent believe the federal government should increase spending on transportation infrastructure to reverse decades of underinvestment in cities, with strong majorities indicating support to increase the federal gas tax to improve transportation infrastructure, if a greater share of the funding were invested in local road and bridge infrastructure (89 percent) and public transit (65 percent);

* Seventy-five percent of the mayors indicate support to increase the federal gas tax if a greater share of the funding were invested in bicycle and pedestrian projects;

* Eighty percent of the mayors indicate that highway expansion should be a low priority; and

* Seventy-five percent say a national infrastructure bank or expanded availability of federal financing tools such as Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) or Build America Bonds would accelerate or increase the number of transportation projects that could be implemented.

The full text of the report is available here.

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