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AASHTO Committee Assaults ISTEA

Members of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) are circulating an Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) reauthorization proposal for approval by AASHTO's full membership this fall. Despite an avowed mis- sion to "develop and disseminate recent advances in the field of transporta- tion planning, including consideration of social, environmental and eco- nomic factors and effects," the documents produced by AASHTO's Standing Committee on Planning lambaste the elements of ISTEA that emphasize departures from car- and road-centered transportation policies. The drafts starkly illustrate the goals of AASHTO members who last year characterized ISTEA as an indication of "pervasive anti-highway forces" loose upon the political landscape (see MTR No. 4). The AASHTO drafts call for elimination of many key ISTEA rules and programs. ISTEA's public involvement provisions are called "burdensome" and "overly pre- scriptive." Other provisions would weaken or eliminate (already slight) fed- eral oversight of spending and planning. The authors obviously dislike losing -- or even sharing -- any state DOT control over transportation pro- grams. The Association has not yet voted to adopt the reauthorization plat- form documents. Will the membership of AASHTO, an organization which aspires to "be the acknowledged leader for transportation excellence," cling to old highway habits and unilateral decision-making, or have new "ISTEA attitudes" penetrated into enough state DOT's to stop the hard-liners?

Mobilizing the Region Number 45, 8 September 1995, published by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign

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Last updated: 4 April 1999