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26 T R A N S P O RTAT I O N F I N A N C E LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVES asserted that enhanced flexibility should be targeted toward programmatic improvements. Megan Stanley Stanley designated possible legislative initiatives as OPEN DISCUSSION either "losers" or "potential winners in terms of the likelihood of enactment." The open discussion included how the timing of avia- The losers included turnback proposals and those tion, Amtrak, and surface transportation reauthoriza- aimed at indexing the gas tax. Potential winners tion would affect the prospects for some of these included high-occupancy toll lanes and private activity programs. The group also considered the issue of bonds. Stanley discussed the tax credit bond proposal security and recognized that the level of demand for and indicated that not enough was known to indicate surface transportation resulting from the renewed the likely success of this proposal. focus on homeland security was not yet known. The Stanley saw TIFIA as a potential winner in reautho- source of necessary financial resources--the trust rization but recognized the need to have congressional fund or the general fund, for instance--was not staff more educated and involved and for states and known. local project sponsors to be the drivers of the program. The group also discussed the potential to remove federal restrictions on tolling, in particular tolling on the Interstate system, and opportunities to streamline PROGRAMMATIC REFINEMENTS the environmental process to expedite project delivery without compromising environmental stewardship. Jeff Squires Finally, the group noted that without substantial increases in revenues, it would be best to maximize the Squires pointed out that some programmatic refine- flexibility of how funds can be used. Frankel reminded ments were necessary, especially where positive conference participants that Mineta was committed to progress on congestion was not being made. He preserving and enhancing programmatic flexibility.