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GENERAL SESSION 4 Transportation Finance in the Context of Reauthorization and Beyond Administration's Perspective Robert E. Skinner, Jr., Transportation Research Board Emil Frankel, U.S. Department of Transportation C onference participants assembled at the as possible. He described reauthorization as an oppor- beginning of the third day of the conference tunity to expand the options, resources, and expertise for a wrap-up session, which included high- available. level administration officials and staff from key con- Frankel depicted the nation's economy as dependent gressional committees to address the prospects for on the transportation system, especially with industries reauthorization. becoming leaner and leaner. He offered examples of just- in-time delivery and related inventory control as being Robert E. Skinner, Jr. fully reliant on a well-functioning transportation system. The speaker described innovative finance, not as a Robert E. Skinner, Jr., Executive Director of the Trans- magic cure, but as an important part of an overall strat- portation Research Board, offered some introductory egy to expand and stretch available funds to accelerate remarks and introduced Emil Frankel, Assistant Secretary new transportation investment. He stated that regions for Transportation Policy. facing the greatest impediments to mobility have paved the way for innovative financing approaches. Emil Frankel Frankel concluded with a few specific program objectives for reauthorization: Frankel referred to testimony provided by Transporta- tion Secretary Norman Mineta before the Senate Envi- Expand the scope of the TIFIA program and move ronment and Public Works Committee. Mineta had into the mainstream as a basic component of every articulated two goals: (a) to encourage investment by state's transportation strategy and the private sector and (b) to strengthen the efficiency Refine the GARVEE and SIB tools and make the and integration of goods movement, especially inter- latter more uniformly available. modal connections. Frankel pointed out that refine- ments in innovative finance techniques would be key He noted that the existence of and reliance on tax- elements in achieving these goals. He explained that, exempt financing for transportation has restricted the given constrained resources, innovative finance tools use of the private sector in financing transportation would be essential in stretching federal dollars as much projects. 24