Rob Puentes on HSR Funding
New York Times spotlights high-speed rail (HSR) in their most recent Room for Debate section — and Rob Puentes gives a very thoughtful answer in his response. (Some of you may remember that Puentes was the keynote speaker at RenewLV’s Regional Rail forum back in 2007. That’s right — we get all the rock stars to our events.)
Puentes stresses that federal funds should go to specific transportation investments —
What is different is that this is not a legacy program that has languished in the bureaucratic halls of the federal transportation department or one that is earmarked to death by Congress. Rather these funds are awarded on a competitive basis. With the support of their governors, states send in requests for the grants and those applications are evaluated based on quantitative metrics including economic, social, and sustainability benefits.
Projects also have to be far enough along in their development, take advantage of innovative technology, and promote a range of public and private partnerships. This is nothing short of a sea change for how Washington thinks about infrastructure investments.
This has been an important part of actually getting many of these projects up and running and spending the funds as quickly as possible. Efficiency is the key, especially for the stimulus funds.
Now it will be important to see if the federal government could dedicate some funding toward planning for new transportation projects. Say for the third largest metro area in PA? Yes.
For more information on RenewLV’s work on transportation and rail, visit our Sustainable Transportation Initiative page.