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60 CHAPTER 6 The Institutional Landscape for Multimodal Corridors in the United States This chapter addresses the roles of institutional stakeholders Multimodal Institutional Settings typically involved in multimodal corridor development projects Many barriers to building new paradigm corridors are and the relationships among them that are needed for the institutional. The U.S. interstate freeway system was largely projects to be successful. Corridor responsibilities are often built by single-purpose state highway departments. Many of divided among a host of different agencies. Local governments our post-World War II transit systems were built by agencies typically have responsibility for land use; state highway depart- created solely for the purpose of building and operating them. ments design, build, and operate freeways; transit agencies plan, This single-purpose agency model is well-suited to building build, and operate transit services; and federal transportation unimodal transportation systems, but presents obstacles to agencies provide funding and oversight. planning, building, and operating new paradigm multimodal Multimodal corridors require close collaboration among corridors. these and other institutions that may not typically work The transportation system is multimodal by nature. Each together. This chapter discusses the institutional histories and agency type--transit, state DOT, local governments, MPOs-- perspectives of these stakeholders and how these narratives can and often do coordinate multimodal transportation inform their roles and responsibilities when collaborating on services out of necessity. But new paradigm multimodal new paradigm projects. Although the history of multimodal corridors derive their benefits from planned and coordinated corridors and the various stakeholders involved in these past multimodal systems, not from multimodalism as an after- projects is briefly discussed in Chapter 2, this chapter focuses thought. Building a new paradigm multimodal corridor on the important historical developments of key new paradigm requires highway and transit agencies (among others) to agencies and the potential for developing new institutional coordinate and collaborate on a day-to-day basis throughout relationships among them. all phases of project planning, design, construction, and operations. The institutional gaps between these agencies can create barriers that must be overcome to plan and develop New Institutional Relationships a multimodal corridor. New paradigm projects require con- New institutional relationships are often needed to capture scious, determined, and continuous efforts on the part of all the benefits of new paradigm corridors. Multimodal systems stakeholders to identify, understand, and overcome these require cooperation and collaboration among different levels of institutional gaps. government (that is, federal, state, regional and local), differ- ent agencies with mode-specific missions (for example, state Bridging the Multimodal "Gaps" highway departments, transit agencies, and city streets and Between Unimodal Agencies roads departments), and different public agencies with diver- gent missions (for example, city land use planning departments The landscape of agencies and stakeholders involved in and transit agencies). Inter-agency agreements and new legis- multimodal corridor projects includes many agencies organized lation may be needed to allow new uses of rights-of-way, new to fulfill a single, and often unimodal, purpose. Over time, these types of partnerships, and new approaches to facility opera- agencies have changed and new ones have been formed to tions and management. address multimodal challenges. One of the most important
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61 challenges is that multimodal projects must comply with all of their capacities to influence and coordinate among their the local, regional, state, and federal regulations governing regional partners. highways and the rules from the same that apply to transit. Understanding how to bridge these gaps and create success- Multiagency Partnerships: The Key to Building ful new paradigm multimodal corridor projects requires an Successful New Paradigm Corridors understanding of how these agencies were formed and how they have changed. The benefits of developing a new paradigm corridor are State DOTs provide perhaps the best example of agencies best ensured using multiagency partnerships, founded on the that started as unimodal, highway construction organizations, principles of shared responsibility and authority. The successes that have evolved over the years to become more multimodal of Denver's T-REX project, for example, are largely owed to and more collaborative. Many state DOTs were shaped by the the collaborative partnerships forged between numerous objective of building the interstate system--using uniform agencies in the project's corridor. Sometimes, however, large standards established at the national level--and they did this collaborative teams can lead to suboptimal outcomes. In these well. These DOTs were not accustomed to planning and cases (and in the case of the T-REX project) more advanced forms of cooperation can lead to successful new paradigm operating facilities for other modes such as transit, paratransit, projects.3 Partnerships can take many forms, but new para- bicycling, or walking--those not explicitly incorporated into digm partnerships require a level of collaboration beyond those the original interstate highway system.1 typically mandated by federal requirements for interagency Similarly, transit agencies are important in multimodal coordination and consultation. Healey describes emerging corridor projects, but they generally focus on operating and approaches to government partnerships, which take two forms: maintaining their existing services. As a result, when calls are made for transit agencies to expand and include planning for · Consensus-building: working with key stakeholders to reach transit-oriented development and pedestrian and bike ac- agreement and adoption of a common strategic policy cess to their systems, agencies often think that this will be agenda.3 When developing new paradigm multimodal cor- more than they can handle.2 As a result, transit and highway ridors, this is a critical first step in any partnership because agencies in particular can appear to serve distinctly different coordination among modes in a corridor will yield perfor- constituencies, and the skill sets valued in one agency are not mance benefits when all partners agree on the goals, objec- always transferable to the other. This can hinder effective co- tives, and actions that will be shared by all partners. ordination on multimodal projects. · Collaboration: a form of consensus-building with a strong Other agencies have evolved to bridge the gaps between emphasis on including all stakeholders and establishing the unimodal transit and state DOTs and provide multimodal institutional mechanisms that will formalize and ensure the coordination. Some local governments and their transportation rights, responsibilities, and opportunities of all to participate departments offer a multimodal focus, if at a smaller geo- in the decision-making process.3 graphical scale. Local governments also control land uses, a critical component necessary to build new paradigm corridors. New paradigm facilities are complex systems requiring However, local governments typically do not control the key collaboration among many stakeholders to share power, facilities of a multimodal corridor--the transit and freeway authority, and expertise. systems. To effectively coordinate modes within a larger, regional Sharing Power, Authority, and Expertise context, MPOs were created by federal mandate and given substantial powers to influence transportation finance, policy, Partnerships work best when the lead agency (that is, the and planning decisions within their jurisdictions. Nevertheless, agency with the most responsibility and authority) yields MPOs are not typically charged with project construction or some degree of control over the decision-making process operational duties, so their effectiveness is largely a function to the partnership. In exchange, the partnership gains the expertise and political support of the other members and will be capable of building and operating a multimodal corridor 1Deakin, E., "The Social Impacts of the Interstate System: What are the Repercussions?," TR News, May-June 2006, 244, p. 16. 2Deakin, E., G. Tal & K. Frick, "What Makes Public Transit a Success? Perspectives 3Goldman, T. & E. Deakin, "Regionalism Through Partnerships? Metropolitan on Ridership in an Era of Uncertain Revenues and Climate Change," Presented Planning Since ISTEA," Berkeley Planning Journal 14 (2000): 4675, http:// at the Transportation Research Board's 89th Annual Meeting, 2010. www.ced.berkeley.edu/pubs/bpj/pdf/bidl1405.pdf
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62 that performs beyond what would be possible if the most multimodal approach to national transportation planning powerful agency in the partnership worked alone.3 and financing. Such a high level of collaboration puts different strains and The creation of UMTA in 1964 was driven both by the rise of pressures on each partner agency. The organizational and in- the environmental and antifreeway movements (see Chapter 2), stitutional history, culture, and legal mandates of each agency and a recognition in Congress that the nation's transit system present different challenges to fully participating in the collab- was in decline and needed financial support similar to that orative process. The discussion that follows addresses these dif- given highways with the interstate program. Transit's decline ferent contexts as determined by the type of governmental and the consequent need for a more multimodal USDOT agency involved. These include the organizational contexts of became widely apparent after the passage of the Transportation the federal Department of Transportation (USDOT), the state Act of 1958. DOTs, transit agencies, and regional and local governments. Prior to 1958, state governments were able to slow the decline of the nation's passenger rail transit services by reviewing and declining petitions to abandon existing lines from railroad The USDOT Context operators. The Transportation Act of 1958 moved control of USDOT was originally established to fund and facilitate this petition process from state governments--which generally highway construction--a focus that has proven effective at favored maintaining passenger rail services--to the federal building the nation's interstate system, but has sometimes been interstate commerce commission--which was given the man- an impediment to building effective multimodal corridors. date to "balance" the interests of passenger services with In recent years the USDOT has evolved from being an agency railroad profitability.4 This resulted in the immediate closing focused exclusively on highway construction into an increas- of several important commuter rail services and a public ingly effective partner in facilitating multimodal corridors. backlash that prompted key members of Congress to advocate for the establishment of a federal transit agency, originally USDOT strengths as a new paradigm project partner include known as UMTA.5 · Working relationships with federal legislators and other The largely grassroots antifreeway and environmental movements of the 1960s and 1970s also played an important policymakers who can help build political and financial role in the creation of UMTA. By the late 1960s, rising con- support for a new paradigm project cerns about the effects of automobiles on the environment · Experience working with transportation planning, engi- raised further questions about highway building and led to neering, and construction firms requirements for environmental reviews (NEPA, 1969). Argu- · Active collaborations with state DOTs and transit agencies ments in favor of federal support for transit found traction in · An ability to set standards of practice in transportation the John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson administrations, planning, engineering and financing practices that could and the UMTA Act of 1964 created the possibility of a different benefit new paradigm projects image of the modern city, one with transit as a key travel mode. · An increasingly multimodal perspective, the result of a Once established, UMTA (later renamed, the Federal Tran- number of reforms both from within and outside of the sit Administration) became important in financing and advo- federal government. cating for multimodal corridor projects, but it was the passage of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act in This historical evolution from a highway-focused to a multi- 1991 that brought the practice of multimodalism to nearly modal agency make today's USDOT a powerful advocate for every part of USDOT and its partner agencies across the United and partner in building new paradigm corridors. These changes States. This multimodal perspective and its proliferation have were marked by several watershed multimodal transformations, made successful new paradigm project collaborations possible. including the establishment of UMTA, the passage of ISTEA, and the changes under way in response to the increasing scarcity of federal transportation funds. ISTEA and the Multimodal Transformation of USDOT The passage of ISTEA in 1991 brought a fundamental shift The Establishment of the Urban Mass in USDOT's primary functions as a transportation policy Transit Administration (UMTA) and financing organization and dramatically improved the opportunities for multiagency collaboration and funding After passage of the 1956 Federal-Aid Highway Act, USDOT opportunities for new paradigm corridors. Prior to ISTEA, it engaged the states as partners in building the interstate highway was difficult to fund multimodal corridor projects since federal system. In the 1950s and 60s, even as the intestate highway system began to yield tangible successes, a confluence of social 4 http://www.narprail.org/cms/index.php/resources/more/railroad_history/ movements and political shifts led USDOT to take a more 5 http://www.fta.dot.gov/about/about_FTA_history.html
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63 funds were limited to mode-specific uses and largely funding the country received 62 percent of New Starts funding.8 FTA's highway construction. Since ISTEA, federal funds are increas- New Start's evaluation criteria ranks projects highly that can ingly used for non-highway projects with greater opportunities show dense, transit-oriented land uses in the proposed corridor for multimodal corridor projects. ISTEA also enhanced the of operations.9 role of intermodal regional governments (MPOs) in deciding As a result, transit-oriented new paradigm multimodal which projects would receive federal funding. corridor projects may fare better in competing against park- Nevertheless, significant barriers to federal transit project and-ride-oriented multimodal corridor projects that might funding--and multimodal corridor project funding--remain. have benefited from pre-New Starts funding priorities in the Thus far, requests for New Starts funds (the federal govern- past. However, new paradigm projects are also faced with the ment's fixed-guideway transit project financing program) have increasing scarcity of federal transportation funds. exceeded supply, and although FTA is authorized to fund up to 80 percent of the capital costs of a transit project, most projects receive less than half. This is compared to the Highway The Era of Underinvestment-- Trust Fund, which has traditionally provided 90 percent of Federal Transportation Funding Scarcity construction costs for the interstate system6 (although this In the current era of federal budget deficits, USDOT and percentage has dropped in more recent years). Congress have struggled to maintain adequate funding levels for transportation. The National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission concluded in their 2008 report Federal Transportation Project Funding: that transportation investment needs require $225 billion Advantages and Disadvantages per year. Meanwhile, we are currently only spending roughly for New Paradigm Projects 40 percent of this amount.10 Foremost among these challenges Institutional impediments to new paradigm projects within is the declining revenues from fixed-price gasoline taxes due USDOT remain, even as multimodalism has become more im- to inflation. portant. For example, the New Starts program's transit project Even so, since this scarcity of transportation funds is a funding evaluation process tends to have a higher level of challenge that all projects and modes face, the multimodal scrutiny and accountability than highway projects, adding im- nature of new paradigm projects may help make them more pediments to transit project funding and making new paradigm competitive for federal funds in the future since they offer the corridor funding more complex as a result. The current process potential for cost-savings, multimodal coordination, reduced only approves funding projects in the final design phase, neces- environmental impacts, and greater person-carrying capacities sitating a substantial local investment before funding from the than competing unimodal projects. federal government can be secured and adding an additional Working to fill the gap, local governments are increasingly hurdle to transit projects compared to highway projects.7 levying sales taxes to fund transportation projects. In terms of planning practice, this has led to the devolution of trans- These federal funding issues have tended to favor park- portation policy and fiscal responsibilities from the federal and-ride access, automobile-oriented multimodal corridor and state levels to the local level, with transportation invest- projects in the past. However, more recent federal funding ment decisions often being made within the local legislative trends suggest that transit-oriented new paradigm projects and political arenas.11 Therefore, it is possible that the success could have a better chance at attracting financing in the future. of new paradigm projects in the future will depend somewhat less on federal USDOT financing and policies and more on A Trend To Favoring Transit-Oriented state, local, and regional decisions. New Paradigm Projects? 8Emerson, D. J., "FTA New Starts: The ISTEA and TEA-21 Funding Commit- It seems reasonable to speculate that recent trends in federal ments," March 29, 2002, http://www.pbworld.com/news_events/publications/ transit funding may tend to favor more transit-oriented technical_papers/pdf/44_FTA_New_Starts.pdf new paradigm projects in dense, transit-friendly urban areas. 9Deakin, E., C. Ferrell, J. Thomas, J. Mason. "Policies And Practices for Cost- During the past decade, the 10 largest metropolitan areas in Effective Transit Investments: Recent Experiences in the United States" Transportation Research Record 1799, 2002, pp. 19. 10Miller, D. L., "Testimony on the Financing of Future Investments in Highway and 6Gifford, J., "The Exceptional Interstate Highway System: Will a Compelling Mass Transit," Before the Committee on the Budget, U.S. House of Representatives, New Vision Emerge?," TR News, MayJune 2006, 244, p. 10. Tuesday, March 17, 2009, http://budget.house.gov/hearings/2009/03.17.2009_ 7Emerson, D. J. & J. D. Ensor, New Starts: Lessons Learned for Discretionary Miller_Testimony.pdf Federal Transportation Funding Programs, Bipartisan Policy Center, January 25, 11Wachs, M. & T. Goldman, "A Quiet Revolution in Transportation Finance: The 2010, http://www.bipartisanpolicy.org/library/report/new-starts-lessons-learned- Rise of Local Option Transportation Taxes," Transportation Quarterly, 57, 1, discretionary-federal-transportation-funding-programs Winter 2003, pp. 1932.
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64 The State DOT Context While the freeway revolts challenged the existing, highway- centric transportation planning, financing, and operational State DOTs in the United States were originally established emphasis in the United States, they also served to broaden the in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as highway depart- constituencies that set transportation priorities, introducing ments. After World War II and the passage of the Federal-Aid new and more multimodal perspectives. Although some state Highway Act of 1956, state highway departments grew con- DOTs resisted these pressures, others experimented with more siderably as they took the lead role in planning, designing, collaborative methods of decision making. These DOTs led building, and operating the interstate highway system. State the way in transforming their institutional structures and DOT strengths as new paradigm project partners include developing a more multimodal perspective--a trend that made multimodal corridors an attractive option for many · Real-world expertise at planning, designing, building, and state DOTs. operating highway facilities and networks During this period of transition for state DOTs in the · A close working relationship with USDOT, an important 1970s, the Oregon Department of Transportation's (ODOT's) source of new paradigm project funding role in the development of Portland's MAX Blue/Red Line/ · Relationships with highway planning, engineering, and I-84 multimodal corridor project (then called the Banfield construction firms Corridor) is emblematic of the changes in state DOTs and · Relationships with local governments, since state DOT their approaches to transportation planning. While originally highways often serve as primary travel arteries through and ODOT seemed to favor a highway-only capacity expansion between cities and counties where new paradigm projects for the corridor, the agency signaled a shift when, for the first might be built time in its history, it appointed a citizens' advisory commit- · Access to alternate funding sources such as state trans- tee for a regional transportation project--the Banfield Corri- portation funds and county and city sales taxes that are dor Study. This study recommended the construction of the playing an ever-increasing role in meeting the shortfall in light rail line using the funds and right-of-way originally available federal funds earmarked for the freeway expansion--arguably, one of the · An increasingly multimodal perspective, the result of a first successful cases of using federal highway funds for multi- number of reform movements both from within and outside modal corridor project construction. The most important of state DOTs. lesson learned from ODOT's experience is the need for state DOTs to incorporate the public into their decision-making The trend toward a more multimodal orientation has made processes. In doing so, ODOT helped change the trajectory state DOTs an important partner in new paradigm project of the Banfield Corridor, placing their agency in the role of collaborations. accommodating the desires of the public for a truly multi- modal corridor. Multimodal Reform of State DOTs ODOT's evolution reflects the changes taking place simul- taneously at state DOTs around the country as organizations The so-called "freeway revolts" also had a profound influ- redefined themselves as multimodal agencies responsive to ence on the organizational structures of state DOTs. Many societal pressures that favored multimodal transportation. states added transit offices or divisions to their agencies and Furthermore, this transformation is an example of how insti- by the late 1960s and early 1970s, many had been renamed as tutional reform can make new paradigm multimodal corridor departments of transportation (DOTs). projects possible. For example, in California, the passage of Assembly Bill (AB) 69 in 1972 directed regional transportation planning agencies to develop their own multimodal transportation plans and ISTEA and the Multimodal Transformation the state's highway department to combine them into a single, of State DOTs statewide multimodal transportation plan.12 This was followed Since state DOTs are often the owner-operators of freeway a year later by changing the state DOT's name from the Divi- facilities, the successful development of a new paradigm multi- sion of Highways to the California Department of Transporta- modal corridor often depends on their ability to function as tion (Caltrans, for short). In the late 1970s, the state removed multimodal agencies. This means they must be able to several major freeway construction elements of its statewide transportation plan, sending the message that the freeway- · Plan, build and manage freeways that accommodate transit building era had come to a close.12 and other modes · Work collaboratively with other agencies and stakeholders 12 Brown, J., "Statewide Transportation Planning: Lessons from California," · Take advantage of flexible highway funds (ISTEA), using Transportation Quarterly, Vol. 56, No. 2, Spring 2002, pp. 5156. them for non-highway corridor improvements.
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65 In practice, ISTEA has been somewhat inconsistent in conflicts, rural rail-highway conflicts, and intercity bus and influencing the multimodal transformation of state DOTs. rail terminal joint location. When asked what aspects of their When first passed, ISTEA required state DOTs to implement transportation systems they modeled, they indicated that management systems and long-range plans. Unfortunately, traffic models of state highway operations were twice as com- these requirements were later relaxed and made optional. mon as were any other infrastructure needs. In general, state In a study by Lipsman and Walter of state DOTs in 1998-- DOT respondents indicated that their multimodal analytic after ISTEA had been in effect for 7 years--many surveyed skills needed upgrading to meet the multimodal expectations DOTs gave a relatively low level of attention to intermodal of ISTEA.13 transportation.13 Whether multimodal corridor projects are seen as a help or A 2007 study of seven state DOTs suggests these challenges a hindrance to achieving this goal often depends on the degree persist, with respondent agencies reporting low levels of state to which state DOTs have successfully transitioned from a funding for intermodal projects, investments in transit services, highway-oriented to a multimodal agency in line with the investments in bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and invest- intent of ISTEA. ments in intermodal connecting facilities.14 Colorado's Transportation Expansion (T-REX) project Even within state DOTs, there are considerable differ- offers important insights into the perspectives of state DOTs ences among departments and disciplines in embracing the involved in multimodal corridor projects. While a partner- multimodal implications of ISTEA. Although many have ship consisting of the Colorado Department of Transportation transformed their planning processes to a more multimodal (CDOT), Denver's MPO (DRCOG), the Regional Denver's approach, significant portions of these same agencies con- Regional Transit District, and numerous local governments tinue to see themselves as highway-building and maintenance within the corridor commissioned the Major Investment Study organizations.14 in 1995, CDOT and FHWA were concerned that the recom- In practice, many institutional and political barriers re- mendations were too transit-oriented and contained only mained in the years after ISTEA's passage that prevented truly minor freeway capacity improvements. At this point, the part- multimodal planning to flourish in many states, and as a nership took a step back, reassessed their priorities, and decided consequence, pose a significant barrier to successful new to focus on improvements that would enhance mobility for paradigm projects as well. Despite the good intentions behind all modes of travel in the corridor, not just transit. As a result, ISTEA's flexible funding mandate, only a few states and their they eventually identified a combination of freeway widening MPO partners have diverted funds from highways to other and light rail improvements that would satisfy CDOT, FHWA, modes. Between 1992 and 1999, of the $33.8 billion in flexible and the transit interests in the partnership.12 funds available, only $4.2 billion or 12.5 percent was actually With this balance of multimodal improvements, the transferred from highways to transit, and of this amount, the stakeholders were able to support the proposed alternative. District of Columbia, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, and California--all highly urbanized areas--accounted for one- Equally important, this cross-agency collaborative structure and third of these transfers. Metropolitan areas with the largest the widely supported multimodal package of improvements and most well-established transit agencies were the most likely that resulted yielded additional benefits later. In 1999 when to transfer funds from highway to transit projects.15 the project's federal funds were as yet unavailable, the voters Reasons for the underuse of flexible funding vary, but an passed Referendum A, allowing CDOT to borrow money important one has been a continued emphasis within state for construction against those unallocated federal funds-- DOTs on what they saw as their mission to complete the a testament to the strength of the multiagency partnership Interstate Freeway System.16 Lipsman and Walter's (1998) that was able to rally public voter support to keep the project survey of state DOTs found they were struggling to incorporate on track.12 multimodalism into their business models. When asked to rank the importance of eleven multimodal issues, the top The Way Forward for State DOTs: three identified were highway-focused: urban rail-highway Promoting the Promise of Multimodal Planning 13Lipsman, M. & C. W. Walter, "Response of State Transportation Planning Several states have taken the lead in transforming their DOTs Programs to the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991," from highway departments into multimodal organizations. Crossroads 2000 Proceedings, Ames: Iowa State University, August 20, 1998, Colorado provides an important example of how the collab- pp. 167171. http://www.ctre.iastate.edu/pubs/crossroads/167response.pdf 14Goetz, A. R., et al., "Assessing Intermodal Transportation Planning at State oration required for multimodal projects led to a transforma- Departments of Transportation," World Review of Intermodal Transportation tion of the agency. With the growing strength of the state's Research 2007; Vol. 1, No. 2 pp. 119145. MPOs after the passage of ISTEA, CDOT found it was necessary 15Puentes, P., "Flexible Funding for Transit: Who Uses It?," Center on Urban & Metropolitan Policy, The Brookings Institution, May 2000. to collaborate with MPOs and a wide variety of other stake- 16http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/F?c102:2:./temp/c102DxKBg6:e1910: holders in order to achieve these aims.
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66 In the last decade, this transformation has been reflected in of multimodal planning at state DOTs reveals that many agen- CDOT's organizational structures. In 2004, CDOT created cies have made significant strides in this arena in recent years, several new divisions that would place more emphasis on incorporating multimodal planning techniques into their multimodal planning, public transit, and collaborative plan- long- and short-range plans. Colorado, Florida, Arizona, and ning techniques. CDOT's Division of Transportation Develop- Louisiana were recently cited by an FHWA study as success- ment has grown substantially and now houses an intermodal fully incorporating multimodal elements into their long- planning branch to address transit, bicycle, and pedestrian range plans.14 However, many of the respondents expressed modes, as well as transportation demand management (TDM). concern about the continued highway orientation of many This widened perspective includes a greater emphasis on freight state DOTs, a lack of funding for multimodal projects in planning within this multimodal planning unit.14 These changes general, and too little investment in or attention to transit, have also taken root in CDOT's approach to planning activities. bicycle, and pedestrian facilities and the intermodal connec- Multimodal and collaborative processes used to create elements tors needed to integrate these modes.14 of CDOT's recent long-range plan were cited by an FHWA study as representative of best practices.14 California's DOT (Caltrans) responded to calls from the The Transit Agency Context electorate for more multimodal planning and operations by Like state DOTs, transit agencies tend to have specific and setting up the Corridor System Management Plan (CSMP) focused missions--in this case, the planning, designing, con- process. CSMPs are designed to evaluate how a travel corridor structing, and operating of a transit system. This focus may is performing, determine why it is performing that way, and tend to engender a view within transit agencies of freeways identify system management strategies to improve the cor- and the state DOTs that operate them as competitors. Even ridor's performance. so, transit agencies often operate in freeway corridors and There are two key elements to the CSMPs that break new on freeways themselves. As a result, efforts to enhance transit ground for Caltrans. First, the analytic process is focused on services in freeway corridors through cross-agency partnerships corridor mobility, rather than simply on the performance of can find willing and enthusiastic partners in transit agencies. a state highway, allowing consideration of a broad range of Efforts to build a multimodal corridor require active transit modes and facilities. Second, the CSMP process embraces agency involvement. Whether this is obtained through part- collaboration with MPOs and other local government stake- holders as the key to successful transportation system man- nering with an existing transit agency or by the creation of a agement, planning, and project delivery. In the San Francisco project-specific one is a question that should be addressed at the Bay Area, Caltrans District 4 has developed a collaborative earliest point possible in the conceptualization of the project. process for CSMPs with the region's MPO. As a result, CSMPs Once the transit agency partner is identified and engaged produced in the Bay Area are increasingly addressing multi- in the project planning process, it is often found that they bring modal issues and present an opportunity to develop new real strengths to the partnership. Transit agency strengths paradigm corridor projects as well. include: Many other states have taken similar steps to organize their operations around multimodalism. Florida DOT has a · Real-world expertise at planning, designing, building, and Public Transportation Administrator that is responsible for operating transit infrastructure. coordinating department involvement in intermodal trans- · A direct business relationship with existing transit riders portation issues. Louisiana DOT has established an Office of and an understanding of the transit ridership market. Public Works and Intermodal Transportation that includes These contacts can be particularly useful when advocating Aviation, Public Transportation, and Marine & Rail Transpor- for project financing and building political support for the tation sections. Mississippi DOT has an Office of Intermodal proposed multimodal corridor project. Transit agencies Planning that houses their Aeronautics, Planning, Public often have working relationships and familiarity with local Transit, Rails, and Ports & Waterways divisions. Texas DOT transit advocates as well, offering an additional source of has established a Multimodal Planning team that provides support for the proposed multimodal corridor project. technical expertise for the development of their statewide · Relationships with transit planning, engineering, and intermodal plan.14 construction firms. These contacts are particularly useful Nevertheless, creating a DOT department tasked with when preliminary cost estimates of project alternatives are multimodal planning or being a liaison to public transit agen- needed as well as judgments regarding the feasibility of cies and MPOs is a far cry from changing state DOT culture these alternatives. and approach to highway planning, design, and operations, · Relationships with local elected officials. Transit agency let alone getting a new paradigm project built. A recent study governing boards are often populated with local politicians
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67 who have contacts either with local government com- missions and boards or with representatives of these local government-elected officials themselves. Many transit agencies use these advantages within collabora- tive transportation planning efforts to great effect. In particular, transit agencies advocate for multimodal solutions to trans- portation problems and as new paradigm project partners with access to various federal, state, and local project funding sources. Transit Agencies as Agents of Multimodal Compromise In the case of the T-REX multimodal corridor project (see Figure 6-1), Denver's Regional Transit District (RTD) played a critical role in helping forge a compromise between the highway and transit interests in the corridor during the project planning process. Perhaps due in part to the wide variety of interests involved in the study, the initial Major Investment Study (MIS) was largely transit-oriented in its recommendations with relatively minor freeway improve- ments. However, FHWA and CDOT advocated for freeway- widening measures and after discussion, the lead agencies Source: Colorado Department of Transportation, T-REX Fact Book. agreed that the MIS placed too much emphasis on transit. The RTD's director reported, "We looked at ways to break Figure 6-1. Denver's T-REX Project. down the freeway versus transit rivalry and started looking at mobility," and started to, ". . . look at freeway and transit as coordinated pieces of a comprehensive strategy to maximize mobility in a project with limited available right of way. We a critical role in obtaining funds for new paradigm multimodal set our sights on a project that was a win-win [proposition] projects.18 for both transit and freeway. What emerged was the T-REX The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century project."17 (TEA-21), the successor to ISTEA, also brought changes to These efforts to bridge the gap between freeway and transit the relationship between transit agencies and the federal interests also yielded a revised Major Investment Study for the government. The most prominent change was the elimination corridor that combined freeway widening (with up to seven of federal operating assistance to transit agencies in urban lanes in each direction) with fixed-rail transit improvements-- areas of more than 200,000. Operating expenses--including a mix that all the project partners could support. employee wages and benefits, vehicle maintenance, fuel expenses--typically account for more than two-thirds of a transit agency's annual expenses. Transit Agencies as New Paradigm Project Since the federal government had been trying to reduce Funding Champions its commitments to funding transit operating expenses for The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation years,19 transit agencies were able to fill this funding gap with Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) increased local revenue sources. Over the past two decades, transit transit capital funding to $52.6 billion over six years, an agencies have adjusted to the reality of reduced funding increase of 46 percent over TEA-21 levels. These increases in available transit capital funds suggest transit agencies can play 18Millar, W. W., "Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act--A Legacy for Users: A Guide to Transit-Related Provisions," http://www. publictransportation.org/resources/laws/safetea_lu_brochure.asp#link2 17 Civil Engineering News- Spotlight on Building The Future-T-REX project, 19Brown, J. "Paying for Transit in an Era of Federal Policy Change," Journal of http://www.cenews.com/article.asp?id=1314 Public Transportation, Vol. 8, No. 3, 2005.
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68 support from federal and state sources with funds from local MPO's plans and funding decisions are only a component sales taxes, gas taxes, and local government general revenue of their state's transportation improvement plan (STIP), but sources. Nationally, from 1984 to 2001, the average share of the MPO's portion of the STIP must have the approval of transit agency operating expenses that came from local dedi- the MPO to have official recognition from the federal govern- cated sales taxes grew from 11.8 to 19.6 percent,19 a 66 percent ment. Therefore, to be effective new paradigm partners, increase. This agility at accessing funds speaks to the substantial MPOs are at their best when working as consensus-builders. political influence transit agencies can draw on within their As a result, the state retains the official power over federal operating jurisdictions and makes them potentially powerful transportation funding allocations, but the MPOs can ob- partners in new paradigm projects. struct the state's power, forcing them to submit an incom- plete STIP for approval to the federal government.20 This role as potential spoiler is just one example of the The MPO Context double-edged nature of MPO powers. MPOs must navigate MPOs can play important roles in new paradigm projects the political waters between their various partner agencies as consensus-builders, planners, financiers, and political and overuse of their veto powers can disrupt the working support builders at all levels of government. Their influence relationships they have with their partner agencies. As a result, and potential effectiveness as multimodal project partners flow MPOs work best when they refrain from using their admin- both from above and below in the government hierarchy, with istrative "sticks" and rely on collaborative decision-making their connections to federal, state, and local governments. techniques to reach consensus with their partners. If MPOs MPOs coordinate short- and long-term transportation plan- emphasize these techniques, they can play a significant role ning and federal funds programming for their regions. But as new paradigm project consensus-builders and project their decision-making powers come from below, as their gov- financiers. However, MPOs are increasingly being given more erning bodies are typically run by boards of constituent local prominent roles as multimodal project advocates, financiers, government representatives.20 and even operators. The wide-ranging scope of their responsibilities for trans- portation modes in their region, their role as the funding con- High-Profile MPOs: Dangers and Possibilities duit from the federal and state levels to local modal agencies, and their mandate to coordinate and prioritize the various Some MPOs are also taking control of existing, or devel- transportation projects throughout their regions offer an op- oping new, regional transportation funding sources. The portunity to facilitate multiagency partnerships that are central San Francisco Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) offers a good to new paradigm projects. example of this trend. Prior to 1997, Caltrans was responsible MPO agency strengths in multimodal, new paradigm for collecting and spending San Francisco Bay Area toll bridge project partnerships include funds. In 1997, the state legislature shifted responsibility for these funds to a new entity, BATA, which was governed by the · Regional-level planning and project financing expertise same board as the region's MPO, the Metropolitan Transporta- · Access to funding from multiple levels of government tion Commission (MTC). MTC's BATA has since used these · Ongoing, staff-to-staff-level working relationships and toll monies to fund various projects around the region, in- partnerships with local transit agencies, governments, cluding transit and highway projects in multimodal corridors. state DOTs, and USDOT These projects include the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) · Commission/board representatives typically drawn from expansion to Warm Springs in the Interstate 880 corridor and local government administrative and elected officials the addition of a fourth bore--effectively a freeway widening project--in the Caldecott Tunnel in the East Bay (BART) Pittsburg/Bay Point Line/S.R. 24 corridor. MPOs: Potential New Paradigm Consensus-Builders The use of these funds for projects geographically distant Nevertheless, these MPO strengths can also manifest them- from the toll bridge facilities that generated them has raised selves as shortcomings and obstacles when undertaking a new some objections in the region, and MTC's BATA has re- paradigm project. With the exception of a few select funding ceived some criticism for the process it uses to allocate these programs MPOs do not have direct authority over federal funds.20 So while MPOs seem to be growing in influence, in- funding decisions, but share these duties with state DOTs. An cluding control over funding sources previously adminis- tered by other levels of government, they are also entering 20 into a more politically high-profile realm that may have some Institute of Transportation Studies & ICF Consulting, "Metropolitan-Level Transportation Funding Sources," December 2005, http://www.transportation. negative consequences for new paradigm projects that re- org/sites/planning/docs/NCHRP%208-36%2849%29%20Final%20Report.pdf quire collaboration with other agencies.
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69 The effectiveness of MPOs in the future, both as revenue- governments have a vested interest in ensuring multimodal collecting and project-financing bodies, will often depend on access to the land uses within their jurisdictions. Unfortunately, the cooperation of state DOTs. As seen with Caltrans and MTC, many of our existing freeway corridors are located in primarily some states actively support new regionally based transporta- automobile-oriented suburbs, where cars are often given pri- tion funds. Indeed, where MPOs pursue a revenue collection ority on local streets at the expense of pedestrians, bicycles, and financing role that reduces state DOT responsibilities and transit vehicles. or replaces the need for scarce state funds, MPOs may find As discussed in previous chapters, an effective new paradigm a willing and active partner at the state level. In some cases, transit line requires transit-oriented development clustered however, state DOTs may perceive the financial empowerment around its stations, while the freeway requires automobile- of MPOs as a threat. Even states that willingly devolve respon- oriented development near its interchanges. Ultimately, the sibility to lower government levels may prefer to distribute success of the new paradigm rests on the ability of local govern- that authority to counties rather than MPOs.21 ments to comprehensively plan and implement corridorwide To help build new paradigm project partnerships, the land use configurations. However, despite their importance, questions of roles, authority, and responsibilities need to be local governments are sometimes overlooked as multimodal carefully and explicitly examined among project partners. corridor partners since they do not (1) have control of project While MPOs offer valuable qualities as a lead partner on new funding sources; (2) plan, design, or operate the primary paradigm projects, each case will be different and the institu- transportation systems (the freeway and transit line); and tional relationships before, during, and after a new paradigm (3) generally take the lead in partnership coordination. project is undertaken should be discussed, and in most cases, Policies and planning practices at the local government is best formalized in the form of joint powers agreements or level can also hinder successful new paradigm corridor efforts. other contractual mechanisms. The land use policy barriers that disadvantage transit invest- ments are well documented and include exclusionary and fiscal zoning policies, restrictions on density, and parking subsidies. The Local Government Context These policies also impede the development of multimodal Local government participation and effectiveness are critical capacity, and it is worth considering their effects. to the success of new paradigm corridors, both in the short and Inconsistencies in the way land use policies are implemented long terms. In the short term, the new paradigm approach between local governments in the same corridor can also requires effective local governments that can work with their undermine the potential success of the new paradigm. Different partners to plan and build multimodal access facilities to and communities along a corridor may have different or conflicting from the transit line's stations and the freeway's interchange development policies and may compete for development. ramps. In the long-term, the success of the new paradigm ap- Comprehensive land use and access planning often depends proach requires local government cooperation to shape the on cooperation between local governments. However, to be land uses and the urban design qualities of the corridor to re- effective advocates for matching growth patterns and access inforce and encourage the efficient and effective use of those improvements to the needs of the transit line and freeway in facilities. a new paradigm corridor, it is best if local governments are Local government strengths in multimodal, new paradigm given the power to pool their efforts and coordinate their projects include policies and programs between neighboring jurisdictions. Research on comprehensive planning techniques in highway · Ownership and control of access to corridor transit and corridors suggests that these goals can be achieved either by freeway facilities empowering local governments with state legislation to · Ownership and control of on-street and (often) off-street encourage cooperation in land use planning or by creating parking facilities regional agencies that have authority to do land use and · Corridor land use controls transportation planning at a regional level.22 · Close working relationships with corridor residents, busi- However, when local governments are determined to take nesses, and politicians a leadership role in new paradigm corridor development, state or other legislation may not be necessary. Indeed, although Typically, local governments control the surface street there are few examples of local governments taking a strong, network and are responsible for zoning corridor land uses. Streets are, by their nature, multimodal facilities, and local 22 Carlson, D., and S. King. (1998). Linking Transportation and Land use by Fostering Inter-jurisdictional Cooperation Enabling Legislation in Eight States, 21 Sciara, C. & M. Wachs, "Metropolitan Transportation Funding", Public Works Institute of Public Policy and Management, University of Washington, Seattle, Management & Policy, 2007, Vol. 12, No. 1, 378394. Washington.