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Vol. 8, No. 3 - May/June 1997

The Federal Role in Surface Transportation: III
The reauthorization of the surface transportation program has triggered a searching debate about the federal role in surface transportation. To illuminate the issues in this debate, Innovation Briefs has invited a number of transportation leaders, representing a broad spectrum of opinion, to share their views about the future federal transportation program with our readers. We opened the dialogue in the January issue with a commentary by Robert Poole, and followed it up in March with those of New York State DOT Commissioner John B. Daly and Governor George Voinovich of Ohio. Continuing the dialogue in this issue, we are presenting the views of two former Administrators of the Federal Highway Administration -- Tom Larson (1989-93) and Ray Barnhart (1981-87).

Should Air Quality Standards Be Tightened?
Senator John H. Chafee, Chairman of the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committe, is known as a staunch advocate of environmental legislation, and someone whom environmental groups have counted upon to champion their interests in the Republican-controlled Congress. Thus, when he came out in opposition to EPA's proposed revision of the national ambient air quality standards, his views have carried particular weight. In the Commentary below the Senator explains the reasons for his position.

High Occupancy Toll (HOT) Lanes Revisited
With the help of a Federal grant, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) have begun a three-year demonstration project that allows solo drivers to use existing high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes on I-15 north of San Diego, upon payment of a fee. In the meantime, data from the SR91 Express Lanes project in Orange County, suggest that raising tolls in HOT lanes may encourage new carpool formation. The two projects provide evidence that HOT lanes may offer benefits that traditional HOV lanes were expected to, but often have failed to produce.

ISTEA Reauthorization Shifts Into High Gear
As the transportation program reauthorization process shifts into high gear, Congress finds itself faced with a plethora of competing and widely divergent proposals, making the job of crafting a compromise increasingly difficult. With as much as $150 billion at stake, and with many contentious issues on the table, some observers predict a bruising debate ahead.

Assessing The Impact of Traveler Information Systems
In what ways can up-to-the-minute information about traffic conditions and travel options help commuters in their daily trip to work? A recent meeting sponsored by the Institute of Transportation Engineers, ITS-America and the Association for Commuter Transportation tried to come up with some answers.


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