Region Forward Blog

The Morning Measure: Tough Transportation Decisions

Nov 2, 2010
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As a follow-up to yesterday’s post about the economy today’s Morning Measure asks a tough question: in a very strained economic environment how should limited transportation funds be allocated?

What metrics should be used to make such decisions? Should policy makers consider a strict cost-benefit analysis of the most immediate bang for the buck or should they take a long-term consideration of investment that will make the area in question more economically and environmentally sustainable but that is unlikely to yield immediate tangible results that politicians desire? When if at all should social justice come into the equation?

It’s clear that transportation systems across the country are highly strapped for cash including Metro the Washington region’s largest transit provider which faces another large budget gap this year. It’s also clear that much more investment is necessary to meet the RF targets for accessibility. Where will that additional funding come from? In a previous Measure we noted that alternative funding options for transportation are necessary given the political impalpability of raising the gas tax. If and when a source of that additional funding is identified how should decisions on what it is used for be judged?

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