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RESOURCE PAPER Meeting the Challenge to Reauthorize the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century Will System Performance Continue to Be "Gone with the Wind"? Geoffrey S. Yarema, Nossaman Guthner Knox & Elliott, LLP F or the Second National Conference on completed since the 2000 conference. The issues raised Transportation Finance in Scottsdale, Arizona, here include the following: August 2023, 2000, the team of Bryan Grote, Jeffrey Parker, and David Seltzer prepared an excellent 1. What should be the goal of reauthorization? paper on reauthorization opportunities.1 As the touch- 2. Has the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st stone for their examination, they looked to the mad- Century (TEA-21) met the goals of maintaining system cap, though ultimately frustrating, comedy film Planes, condition and performance and improving safety? Trains and Automobiles. They saw this comedy as rep- 3. What funding level will reauthorization need to resentative of a haphazard U.S. transportation system establish to maintain condition and performance? in need of serious fixing. 4. What measures can reasonably be taken to In my effort to follow in their footsteps, the movie achieve the goals? theme I draw on is the classic Gone with the Wind. That triumph of cinematic effort left little room for comedy It is hoped that this background, together with the in portraying an economic system at a crossroads, presentations and discussions the conference will foster, flawed in its goals and struggling to rebuild a new eco- will help participants come to a consensus on these nomic base. At this point in the history of our surface issues and become effective advocates for the solutions. transportation network, the United States may be at its own crossroads, struggling to maintain system condi- tion and performance, with goals not clearly stated and WHAT SHOULD BE THE GOAL OF needed resources yet to be identified. REAUTHORIZATION? This resource paper is intended to spur discussion for the Third National Conference on Transportation Prior to TEA-21, congressional funding decisions for the Finance. To that end it gathers together material gener- federal highway and mass transit programs2 were driven ated from numerous congressional hearings, actual by the budget. Both programs were part of the domestic experience in project delivery at the state and local lev- discretionary budget category, and the annual invest- els, and important academic and economic analyses ment level was set by what the overall domestic discre- 1 Grote, B., J. Parker, and D. Seltzer. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles: 2 This paper focuses primarily on highways and bridges and does not Multimodal Reauthorization Opportunities. In Conference Proceed- specifically address mass transit, except as noted. The analysis of cost ings 24: Second National Conference on Transportation Finance, TRB, to maintain condition and performance applies equally to transit, National Research Council, Washington, D.C., 2001, pp. 179189. however. 61