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PLENARY SESSION 6 Emerging Issues Steve Van Beek, Eno Transportation Foundation (Moderator) Craig Lentzsch, National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission Anne Canby, Surface Transportation Policy Project T he session synthesized the findings from preced- tive, transportation investment has become a priority, ing sessions in the conference, with forward- but the longer term remains uncertain. looking perspectives provided by a panel of If current trends continue, he indicated that the lim- leading policy practitioners. The discussions examined ited revenues accruing in the Highway Trust Fund will the achievement of true modal integration through result in a 50 percent reduction in highway funding after funding and finance tools that help direct policy, identi- 2012 and a 40 percent reduction in transit funding in fied an array of feasible revenue mechanisms to meet 2013. Mr. Van Beek stated that whether there will be investment needs, and attempted to help participants a third infusion of taxpayer dollars into the trust fund understand the unpredictable funding and financing is unknown. He stated that the economic recovery is landscape for federal transportation reauthorization. unstable and that destimulus pressures could result in The panel also examined short- and long-term implica- the loss of 1 million jobs. The aviation trust fund is also tions of a transition to distance-based fees, a national moving toward default, and modernization of air traffic infrastructure bank, the linking of the motor fuels tax control is going to require a massive investment in the with climate change efforts, and creative solutions to be next decade. considered in the surface transportation reauthorization Mr. Van Beek stated that the current administration process, among others. is emphasizing spending transportation funds "smarter," through the use of less formulaic programs, more discre- tion, and performance measures. Several programs have Multimodal Policy Integration been identified, but funding remains largely unidentified: Steve Van Beek expressed the opinion that transporta- High-speed rail: $8 billion dedicated to date, with tion policy and funding are at a turning point and sug- $57 billion in requests and no identified funding source gested that there are three contexts in which this can be beyond taxpayer money; viewed: funding and policy, modal challenges, and a Transportation Investment Generating Economic framework for systems solutions. He indicated that the Recovery grants: $1.5 billion awarded out of $57 bil- current juncture is a dynamic moment where greenhouse lion in applications, with another $600 million for FY gas emissions, energy, and funding need to be addressed. 2010 with no identified funding source beyond taxpayer Transportation policy must change, and the delays in money; and advancing a new transportation act reflect today's chal- National Infrastructure Innovation and Finance lenges. The new administration has focused on transpor- Fund: $4 billion proposed in the FY 2011 budget to cap- tation and supported a $48 billion, 16-month stimulus italize a bank providing support to high-value projects, bill outside the trust fund. From a short-term perspec- toward an eventual goal of $25 billion. 51