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Conference Summary I n October 2002, approximately 350 people assem- 1. To educate federal, state, and local officials regard- bled in Chicago, Illinois, to participate in the Third ing new financing mechanisms for transportation infra- National Conference on Transportation Finance. structure and operations, their structure, and the benefits The conference brought together individuals from the and costs of implementing such techniques; and transportation, finance, and public policy communities 2. To explore the development of new funding mech- at national, state, and local levels and from both the anisms and sources. public and private sectors. The public sector was rep- resented by federal, state, and local government offi- The conference program was designed to maximize cials and managers of transportation assets such as the exchange of information and perspectives among airports, seaports, and toll roads. Private-sector partic- conference participants. By the close of the conference, ipants included investment bankers, financial advisors, participants not only had collected a significant amount design and construction professionals, attorneys, of information but also had exchanged perspectives and developers, credit analysts, journalists, and consultants built a dialogue for the upcoming legislative debates at in the transportation sector. the national level. OVERVIEW OF CONFERENCE AGENDA PRECONFERENCE WORKSHOPS As the third in a series of national transportation finance It is important that a conference of this nature meet the conferences sponsored jointly by the Transportation needs of all its participants. To address the varied Research Board of the National Academies and the knowledge about transportation finance, conference Federal Highway Administration, the conference contin- planners took two actions. First, the Conference ued the dialogue on the challenges of financing the Committee commissioned four papers to provide a con- nation's transportation systems and provided a forum to text for the meeting and made them available before the exchange perspectives on what has worked, what has conference. Second, the committee built on past suc- not, and what might be tested. Given the timing of the cesses with preconference workshops. Those four conference--as proposals were being developed to be workshops gave participants at all levels a chance to part of the reauthorization of the federal surface trans- brush up on the state of the practice of transportation portation and aviation programs--special attention was finance. The two introductory level workshops were paid to considering new approaches. The Third National Transportation Finance Conference · Highway Finance 101: A Primer on Highway had two primary objectives: Funding and New Financing Techniques and 7