BACK TO THE FUTURE

On the national level, our transportation network is a long-neglected, taken-for granted asset. We tried, most recently, in 1991 to fix this problem with the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA), but the results of ISTEA, however, have been a mixed bag. It appears that people in some parts of government are still not getting the message about investment--specifically, about the importance of transportation investment to the future of our country. They are not getting the message that every transportation problem--and solution--is interrelated and intertwined with the health of our economy. Only one of our transportation systems exists and works well in a vacuum--and that is the space shuttle. What is the solution? Part of the solution lies in convincing the American people about the humanity of technology and the importance of new technology to their mobility. The role of government is to create a stable environment in which the private sector can do its job. This has been done in the area of intelligent transportation systems. What kind of action can we reasonably expect from the 104th Congress? There is a real risk that the most basic programs of infrastructure investment will be reduced sharply. There is a real risk that those making decisions will not be those from either party who are most informed about these programs. The transportation systems on which our businesses depend, on which our living standards depend, and on which our economic growth depends are at a higher level of risk in the coming months than they have been in decades. That risk is on top of the underinvestment we have experienced in the past. So, what should government do, and what should government leave to others? The widest agreement is that the basic building blocks of our economy--building blocks that meet the transportation needs of the United States--are part of what government should do. If we are to succeed, we must begin again to make investments in our future. Getting new technologies into our lives is exactly the sort of investing for which there is no good substitute.

Language

  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Pagination: p. 25-28
  • Monograph Title: FORUM ON FUTURE DIRECTIONS IN TRANSPORTATION R&D, WASHINGTON, D.C., MARCH 6-7, 1995
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00713047
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 0309061679
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Oct 20 1995 12:00AM