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56 T R A N S P O RTAT I O N F I N A N C E It was noted that when the gas tax was created, the tools that were the focus of Tracks 1 and 2, drew spe- nation was funding highways. With the focus now on cial attention to potentially missed opportunities and building intermodal centers and a wide range of non- how to capture these in the future. Some of the com- highway or multimodal facilities, such investments may mon themes from this track are call for a new alignment of supporting funding struc- tures and greater integration across modes. · Recognition that most innovation is local and that, while the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act and TEA-21 provided good tools, in TRACK 2 many instances they simultaneously hamstrung the abil- ity of states and local project sponsors to take advan- Track 2 sessions focused on the specific tools and tech- tage of those tools via limitations of pilot programs and niques currently available or envisioned to deliver more other narrowing requirements; projects at a faster pace. A common theme from this set · Recognition that, in the context of publicprivate of sessions was the need to move away from considering partnerships, critical issues remain regarding how to such tools as innovative and toward thinking of them as share the work and the risks and how to properly com- simply additional tools in the toolbox, without the fan- pensate those taking risks and not compensate those fare and sometimes the stigma of thinking of these alter- who are not; natives as innovative or outside the mainstream. · Concern about the interplay of partnership struc- Key observations by some participants focused on tures and the appropriate level of staffing and expertise in departments of transportation to oversee private · The role and importance of strong financial planning; implementation; · Mounting concerns about potential overleverag- · An expressed need for full disclosure on ing and the need to make borrowing decisions at the publicprivate partnerships--on who is doing what and local level and to base them on particular underlying how costs and returns are allocated; and circumstances; · A view that forecasting results need to be better scru- · A recognition that decisions about using particular tinized, given their essential role in underlying decisions techniques are best made at the local level; abut entering into major project commitments. · A perceived need for a better connection between financial planning, pure planning, and project priority Through a wide-ranging set of case studies, this track setting; drew out these common themes and sought solutions to · The view that quantifying costs and benefits of the the recognized impediments to utilizing publicprivate various tools is an important element to good decision partnerships and new institutional relationships to making; and carry out the mounting transportation infrastructure · An overarching recognition of the importance of funding challenges. accountability--over both the short- and longer-term horizons. TRACK 4 With broad recognition that tools once considered innovative are gradually becoming mainstream, there is Track 4, with its focus on new transportation initiatives a strong interest in disbanding the term "innovative" and related demands on financing, brought attention to for approaches that are not so. With this, many partic- multimodal projects, to mounting security-related ipants felt that such tools--and new ones--could be demands, and to the continued challenges of funding applied in the most effective manner. There continues to and delivering new technologies to the transportation be a search for better planning approaches and analyti- arena. Key observations by some participants in this cal frameworks to choose among the various track included the following: approaches and to decide when they are appropriate-- and when they are not--and how to best communicate · Recognition of the need for leadership and the impor- the costs and benefits to decision makers and to the tance of a champion for multimodal--and multipurpose-- public at large. projects; · A sense that agreements and partnerships should cross administrations, especially for large multimodal TRACK 3 projects; · Recognition that intelligent transportation sys- Track 3, with its focus on the structures and institutions tems and other technology innovations are still evolving needed to work in concert with the funding and finance and would benefit from better integration with other
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CONFERENCE THEMES 57 programs but some concern that, in this integration, the instance, in the areas of marine terminals and railways; core concepts could lose their push; and · Recognition of the need for a strong federal role · A perceived need for better coordination in rela- in setting standards for technology; tion to the impacts of particular projects and funding · A concern that the challenge of increased through- solutions across modes. put without system expansion is not tenable, for
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