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2009 Transportation Bill

Enviro Group Sees State DOTs’ Transport Predictions — and Raises Them

Just before New Year's, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Washington voice for state DOTs that's often dubbed the "road lobby," counted down 10 hot topics for 2010.

freight_rail.jpgFreight upgrades made EDF's transport wish list for 2010. (Photo: TSA)

Most items on AASHTO's list are awaited with equal fervor by green groups and transit advocates, such as new high-speed rail grants and a congressional jobs bill -- but most state DOTs are unlikely to see eye to eye with transport reformers on the big issues, to put it mildly.

With that in mind, perhaps, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) today released its own top 10 transportation to-dos.

The entire list is worth reading in full, while remembering that many of EDF's preferred changes have the best chance of becoming law if Congress moves forward with a new six-year transportation bill before the midterm elections. Two goals on the list are notable because they often get short shrift in the larger debate:

  • Modernized, cleaner freight: Funding for a freight system that is efficient and provides environmental benefits. Our freight system is expected to grow 80% in the next 10 years, and we need solutions to reduce pollution and congestion. ...
  • Pay-as-you-drive insurance: Let's incentivize reduced VMT and get PAYD in every state, so drivers can opt for an insurance policy that best reflects their lifestyle.

PAYD is undergoing a pivotal test run in California, where Damien Newton found environmental advocates sorely disappointed with the fine print of new insurance rules. It'll be interesting to see whether Congress adds incentives for better state-based PAYD options to the next long-term transport bill ... when it emerges.

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