Is There a Case for Devolution?

This article reviews the October 16, 2004 speech delivered by Tom Downs, President of Eno Foundation, spoken before the annual convention of the American Society of Civil Engineers/ The speech revived a debate that reaches back to the mid 1990s. The debate's subject:"It is time to seriously look at the possibility that we need to devolve all surface transportation funding out of Washington". The article summarizes the salient points of Mr. Downs speech, with a caveat that the summary can only partly render justice to the speech. The 7 points presented for devolution, briefly: The federal transportation program has become a revenue block grant to the states with no national objectives; the insatiable demand for pork is destroying the credibility of the program in the public's mind; gas tax revenues to the Highway Trust Fund are not growing fast, and may even decline in the future; resistance to gas tax is as intense at the state level as it is at the national level; increases in the federal funding levels for transportation have led states and local governments to reduce their own contribution to the transportation budget; the rate of return on highway investments has decreased substantially over the last 30 years; and a number of planners have set their sights on road pricing, corridor tolling and HOT lanes.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Pagination: 2p
  • Serial:
    • Innovation Briefs
    • Volume: 16
    • Issue Number: 4
    • Publisher: Urban Mobility Corporation
    • ISSN: 1071-393X

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01003681
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 1 2005 2:55PM