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C O M M I T T E E F I N D I N G S A N D R E C O M M E N D AT I O N S 5 · Sponsor research to inform the development of ASSESSMENT OF THE CONFERENCE AND guidelines for the appropriate level of financial lever- RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FUTURE EVENTS age, including but not limited to the leveraging of fed- eral funding with grant anticipation financing Following is a summary of the committee's overall techniques. assessment of the Third National Conference on · Develop guidance and information on beneficial Transportation Finance and recommendations regard- public-sector and private-sector roles and appropriate ing future conferences and gatherings. These findings risk sharing in project development and finance. and recommendations reflect input received informally · Sponsor research to explore potential federal roles in from conference participants and the observations of developing standards in technology, especially regarding the committee itself. revenue capture. · Expand research efforts in support of multimodal · The overall structure of the conference was suc- funding initiatives, including techniques that would cessful. Particular highlights included eliminate funding silos and identify and address barriers The conference's relative multimodal focus, and inconsistencies across modes. which was facilitated by more concurrent sessions, · Sponsor research and forums for information the inclusion of presenters from a wider range of dis- sharing with nontransportation public infrastructure ciplines, and outreach to a more diverse group of modes regarding alternative methods to access revenue program participants; and raise capital. The discussant role and other techniques that · Sponsor research regarding the quantification of expanded opportunities for audience participation and economic and other long-term benefits of investing in spurred discussion of more controversial topics and the transportation infrastructure. reporter role, which facilitated broader sharing of find- · Sponsor research on how to capture the value of ings from the concurrent sessions and cross-fertiliza- the existing transportation system fully and to look at tion of ideas across the tracks; and the transportation system with an eye toward opportu- Well-constructed and -delivered general and lun- nities to generate funding through value capture tech- cheon sessions and speakers who provided a wide range niques. A few transit agencies and toll authorities have of perspectives and pulled together the range of topics successfully used this method whereby increases in land and perspectives offered in the concurrent sessions. values associated with a transportation investment have · Although the conference was generally successful been shared at least in part with the transportation at expanding its reach to nonhighway modes and to a project sponsor or whereby funding has been derived wider range of program participants, it could have gone from private partners' interests in the transportation further in both respects. investment. · The resource papers prepared before the confer- · Expand on the Innovative Finance Clearinghouse ence and presented in the opening general session initiative and provide an institutional and financial helped frame discussions throughout the conference. mechanism to ensure its upkeep. In particular, consider Such papers, however, could be more fully integrated expanding the clearinghouse to include a focus on fund- with the conference program and committee activities. ing initiatives for local and smaller projects and to go · Concurrent sessions that stimulated participants to beyond the original focus on innovative techniques to consider higher-level conclusions or findings were gener- include the full range of transportation finance tech- ally favored over case study sessions, although the contin- niques. The clearinghouse also could usefully include ued importance of providing a balance of theoretical and sections on the pros and cons of various strategies and real-life experience is recognized. the social and distributional implications for different · The preconference workshops were successful and stakeholders. should be retained. Consideration should be given, · Develop objective criteria to capture miles traveled however, to the pros and cons of holding these work- on transit to be able to consider that value in allocation shops simultaneously. The disadvantage at this confer- formulas for transportation funding. ence was forcing participants to choose from among banks, these standards should cover all recipients. Innovative financing constraints are hollowing out state department of transportation must not be used to undermine worker rights or allow entities to avoid (DOT) workforces and reducing in-house expertise. Given these con- compliance with laws protecting the public interest. cerns and the reduced in-house capacity of DOTs to evaluate and The committee found "concerns regarding the quality, perfor- manage private proposals and agreements, I do not support the com- mance and cost competitiveness of publicprivate arrangements that mittee's suggestions for expanding publicprivate partnerships, need to be addressed." We also found that retirements and staffing including broadening the use of private activity bonds.
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6 T R A N S P O RTAT I O N F I N A N C E equally compelling topics and dividing workshop par- modes in planning the conference would be beneficial. To ticipants into traditional camps. The benefit was pro- this end, a broad set of organizations should be identified viding both introductory and advanced sessions. early in the planning process and solicited for suggestions · The breakfast roundtable discussions were seen as for committee members and program participants. a welcome opportunity for more informal discussion · Conferences should build on the success of this among conference participants. conference in engaging a greater diversity of partici- · The participation of members of Congress, con- pants, including those from local government as well as gressional committee staff, senior administration offi- from nonfinancial disciplines such as urban planning cials, and state elected officials was of significant and public management. Users of the system (e.g., ship- benefit to the conference and to meeting the objective of pers, warehousing and distribution firms) should be informing upcoming policy decision-making. To invited as well as those reflecting community advocacy achieve--and expand on--this level of participation, and environmental perspectives. careful consideration of the timing of events is critical. · Proceedings of the conference (including CD- It is important, for instance, to attempt to avoid times ROMs of individual presentations) should be distrib- when travel is constrained by upcoming elections, uted to participants, interested trade associations, and administrative transitions, and budget situations. congressional committees. They also should be made · A continuing cycle of conferences is desirable. Ideally available on the TRB website and brought to the atten- the next conference would be held shortly after reautho- tion of relevant TRB committees. rization. Efforts should also be made to continue the dia- · Plans for future conferences should include a final logue in the interim with targeted workshops, informal postconference committee meeting to focus on the dis- discussion forums, and other methods of information semination of information from the conference and exchange. Some of this discussion could be integrated into potential activities. the midyear and annual meetings of the Transportation · The committee or TRB should reassess the status Research Board (TRB). of the committee's findings and recommendations, per- · Consistent with the effort to make the conference haps most logically shortly after reauthorization and more multimodal, greater involvement of nonhighway before the next national conference.