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24 significant capital investment in both highway and transit Other Flexible infrastructure must navigate two distinct regulatory processes, Title 23 Programs Highways Non Motorized increasing the administrative burden on multimodal corridor Access Projects planners. Second, although there is some flexibility in using Indirect Aid highway funds to fund transit planning and vice versa, and Public Transportation some highway trust fund programs have an explicit transit Management focus, taking advantage of this flexibility requires considerable Up to Multimodal time and expertise and risks a loss of transparency. Third, Capital Grants 50% of Grant aspects of the review process affect transit and highway projects Multimodal National Highway System Corridors differently; these may tend to stall transit project funding, risk- Metropolitan Planning Air Quality Benefiting Project ing that the highway project may proceed on a more advanced track, which is in itself potentially detrimental. Added to this are considerations that take effect at the state Title 49 and local level. States tend to delegate transit planning to the Transit local and regional level and, because capital investments in transit are fewer and farther between, the base of experience Figure 2-5. Flexible federal in working through the federal process is potentially thinner. transportation funding. Nevertheless, thus far, requests for New Starts funds have outstripped supply, and while FTA is authorized to fund sales taxes undermines flexibility. Many of these taxation up to 80 percent of the capital costs of a transit project, most powers are invested with municipal and county governments, projects receive less than half. This is compared to the HTF, often bypassing MPOs altogether, even though MPOs are which has traditionally provided 90 percent of construction charged under federal legislation with the primary planning costs for the interstate system.8 responsibility.9 Coordinating a transit funding process and a highway Somewhat ironically, the Clean Air Act is a financial bar- funding process places a premium on flexible funding, but rier to building transit in new paradigm corridors. Areas in because the flexible sources of funding are more limited, this nonattainment (those regions that exceed federal air quality poses a constraint on the magnitude of any request that depends standards) are denied federal transportation funds, including on flexible funding. The precise limitations on flexible use of transit capital projects funding unless it is possible to demon- funds are another constraint. Figure 2-5 illustrates the sources strate no increase in emissions. Although withholding highway and patterns of available funding. funds from nonattainment areas makes sense because highway Historically, differences in the review process for New Starts expansions would be counterproductive to efforts to reach transit projects compared to highway projects have led to un- attainment, withholding funds dedicated to building air qual- favorable comparisons between the two, which undermine a ity enhancing projects like transit, and specifically Congestion multimodal approach. The lower ridership base for transit Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program funds, prevents has rendered aggregate time savings a less substantial factor transit and new paradigm multimodal projects in general from in the benefit calculations as compared to highways, but the offering potential solutions. externalities related to highway travel, such as congestion and air quality effects, are not counted as costs for highway projects. Conclusions: History as Context-- History in Context In addition to these considerations, a long-term downward trend in the highway trust fund has been noted over most of The history of multimodal corridor planning and financing the last decade. This is exacerbated by a decline in the real value is instructive in two respects: as a lens to understand the accom- of the gas tax over time because of inflation and threats to the plishments and shortcomings of the old paradigm multimodal absolute revenue generated as the vehicle fleet achieves higher corridors and as a guide to understanding the potential for the fuel economy. new paradigm. The history of multimodal corridor planning At the state and local level, trends in finance pose some has been driven by the desire to add multimodal capacity (typ- constraints as well. The hypothecation (or fixed-purpose ically high-capacity transit) to urban travel corridors that can designation) of funds raised through bond measures and effectively compete with freeways in terms of speed and cost. 8Gifford, J., "The Exceptional Interstate Highway System: Will a Compelling 9Goldman, T., and M. Wachs, "A Quiet Revolution in Transportation Finance: New Vision Emerge?," TR News, May-June 2006, 244, p. 10. The Rise of Local Option Transportation Tax" Transportation Quarterly, 2003

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25 This old paradigm approach has been problematic in terms of cilities from a focus on direct competition between modes, to its implementation and its outcomes. Funding for transit and a focus on providing segregated travel markets tailored to the multimodal projects in general has been difficult to acquire. natural advantages of each mode of travel in a corridor. The The plethora of stakeholders and partners involved in multi- new paradigm also incorporates and offers a new set of tools modal projects must be coordinated to act in concert. Difficul- and perspectives that can help achieve USDOT's strategic em- ties in coordination were magnified by the mode-specific plan- phasis on livability initiatives. These initiatives include ning and financing institutional structures in the United States that became more balanced and collaborative only with the Better integration of transportation and land use planning passage and implementation of ISTEA and its successors. Fostering of multimodal transportation systems and effec- These improvements in multimodal financing and insti- tive multimodal connections tutional collaboration have set the stage for a reassessment Provision of more transportation options to improve access of multimodal corridor planning ideas, priorities, and to housing, jobs, businesses, services, and social activities techniques--a new paradigm. The new paradigm is intended Increased public participation and enhanced coordination to take full advantage of these multimodal shifts in planning of transportation and housing and healthy communities and financing and seeks to redefine the priorities of these fa- Reduced emissions