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Preface Society is increasingly concerned with issues of equity, notably who pays for and who beneﬁts from publicly delivered services such as health care, education, and transportation. Transportation in particular—how we get to work or school, to medical appointments, to the grocery store, and to a variety of social activities—is central in determining who is able to participate fully in society. Ways of raising the revenues needed to sus- tain and renew the nation’s surface transportation system have attracted considerable attention in recent years, in large part because expenditures from the Highway Trust Fund account continue to exceed revenues. Pol- icy makers are exploring a range of alternatives to current ﬁnance mech- anisms, and in this context, questions have been raised about equity issues in ﬁnancing surface transportation. This study on assessing the equity of evolving transportation ﬁnance mechanisms was initiated by the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Executive Committee in 2008. The Executive Committee recognized that equity issues associated with surface transportation are complex and that practical experience with emerging ﬁnance mechanisms is limited. The purpose of this report is to provide guidance about equity issues to pub- lic ofﬁcials responsible for deciding how to fund transportation pro- grams and projects. The report is directed to policy makers at all levels of government who are considering new ﬁnance mechanisms, as well as to their advisors. To conduct the study, TRB assembled a committee of 12 members under the leadership of Joseph L. Schofer, Professor of Civil Engineering and Transportation and Associate Dean, Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, Northwestern University. The members of the committee have expertise in equity analysis and environ- vii
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viii Equity of Evolving Transportation Finance Mechanisms mental justice; public policy, planning, and ﬁnance; transportation eco- nomics; travel behavior and modeling; social science and public opin- ion; and human environmental sciences. The committee’s task was to provide guidance to public ofﬁcials about assessing the equity implica- tions of evolving transportation ﬁnance mechanisms. The study was sponsored by TRB. The committee held ﬁve meetings between December 2008 and Feb- ruary 2010 (see Appendix B). It also commissioned four expert papers (see Appendix C) to inform its discussions. Preliminary drafts of these papers were discussed by committee members and the papers’ authors at the committee meeting held in Washington, D.C., in May 2009. The authors then completed their drafts, which were reviewed by committee members in advance of a 1-day public symposium, held in Washington, D.C., in September 2009 in conjunction with the committee’s fourth meeting. After presenting their major messages at the symposium, the authors ﬁnalized their papers. All four commissioned papers are available in electronic form in con- junction with this report. The reader is cautioned that the interpretations and conclusions contained in the papers are those of the authors and are not necessarily endorsed by the committee. After its ﬁfth and ﬁnal meeting in February 2010, the committee worked by correspondence to reﬁne its ﬁndings and recommendations and develop its report. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The committee thanks the individuals and organizations who partici- pated in the information-gathering sessions of its meetings and grate- fully acknowledges the contributions of all those who attended the public symposium (see Appendix D). Particular appreciation is expressed to the authors of the commis- sioned papers: Alan Altshuler, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; David A. King, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University, New York; Lisa Schweitzer, School of Policy, Planning and Develop-
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Preface ix ment, University of Southern California, Los Angeles; and Sarah E. West, Department of Economics, Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota. Their expert papers and the authors’ participation in committee discus- sions and e-mail correspondence contributed greatly to the overall effort. Jill Wilson managed the study under the supervision of Stephen R. Godwin, Director of TRB’s Studies and Special Programs Division. Dr. Wilson also drafted portions of the ﬁnal report under the committee’s guidance. Nikisha Turman was responsible for meeting logistics and assisted with communications with committee members. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council (NRC) Report Review Committee. The purpose of this review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making the report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain conﬁdential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. NRC thanks the following individuals for their review of this report: Mort Downey, Mort Downey Consulting, LLC, Vienna, Virginia; Steve Heminger, Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Oakland, Cali- fornia; Tom Higgins, K. T. Analytics, Inc., Oakland, California; Norm King, consultant, Palm Springs, California; Therese McGuire, North- western University, Evanston, Illinois; James Reed, National Conference of State Legislatures, Denver, Colorado; Mindy Rhindress, Abt SRBI, New York, New York; Kumares Sinha, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana; and Marty Wachs, RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, California. Although the reviewers provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the committee’s ﬁndings, conclusions, or recommendations, nor did they see the ﬁnal draft before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Insti- tute of Medicine member Charles E. Phelps, retired, and National Academy of Engineering member C. Michael Walton, University of Texas, Austin. Appointed by the NRC, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out
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x Equity of Evolving Transportation Finance Mechanisms in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the ﬁnal content of the report rests solely with the authoring committee and the institution. Suzanne Schneider, Associate Executive Director, TRB, managed the report review process. The report was edited and prepared for publication by Janet M. McNaughton; the background papers and the prepublication ﬁles for posting to the TRB website were formatted and prepared by Jennifer J. Weeks; and the book design and production were coordinated by Juanita Green, under the supervision of Javy Awan, Director of Publications, TRB.