A survey commissioned by the American Road & Transport Builders Assn. (ARTBA) conducted Feb. 6-7 polled a random sample of 1,0002 likely voters nationwide and showed that 70% believe the nation has a transportation crisis with overcrowded roads, airports, and public transit systems. The survey found 64% would support a small annual increase in federal motor fuels user fee excise if the money is used exclusively to improve roads, bridges, and public transit.
Is that likely to happen?
Not according to Diane Steed, president of the American Highway Users Alliance. Testifying before the US Senate Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate Change and Nuclear Safety, she said "The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality program (CMAQ) simply does not live up to its name because it prohibits funding for the very projects that are most likely to improve highway congestion and air quality." She continued, noting, "Today, we have a freer, more mobile society than ever before, and our air is getting cleaner. But the fact is, misguided restrictions on the types of projects that qualify for CMAQ funding are preventing the program from achieving its full potential."
Many experts agree that the biggest environmental bang for the buck comes from improvements in traffic flow, advances in technologies, and emphasis on vehicle inspections and maintenance, she continued. She recommended prioritizing CMAQ projects on a true cost-benefit basis and targeting the nation's worst highway bottlenecks.
The American Highway Users Alliance represents motorists, truckers, and a broad cross-section of businesses that depend on the highway system.