One-liners from Transportation for Next Economy Conference

Funding infrastructure to improve communities and commerce is a key transportation issue. Image – Bike Box, Wenatchee (WSDOT Complete Streets Report).

About 300 people heard Washington and California experts discuss local needs and challenges of funding “Transportation for the Next Economy” last week.

Every year the sponsor, University of Washington’s Tacoma Urban Studies Program, “holds an urban forum on issues of critical importance to the broader community. Recent Federal transportation reforms provide an interesting moment to rethink and reimagine policy formulation and performance measurement between federal, state and local governments. This coming year, participants representing the four-county Puget Sound Region, Urban Studies faculty, students, staff, and national transportation experts will explore the trends, challenges, and new possibilities associated with urban transportation policy coordination and institutional leadership both here in the Puget  Sound Region and across the United States. The University’s conference organizers worked closely with the Puget Sound Regional Council (the Seattle region’s MPO) in planning the event.”

The goal this year was “to stimulate fresh conversations about national, state and regional challenges in transportation investments, with special attention paid to how these investments can better support emerging economic trends in the overall metropolitan region.”

The topics of the forum included:

  • The relationship between transportation policies, infrastructure investments, and the Puget Sound region’s emerging metropolitan economy
  • A keynote address by Robert Puentes of the Brookings Institution on national economic and transportation trends
  • ‘Learning from others?’ looking at alternative approaches and strategies to intergovernmental transportation coordination, leadership, and especially investments based on the experience of other metropolitan regions in the U.S.

I attended the conference, and tweeted some nuggets over the course of the day (see below).  (Note for you non-tweeters – tweets are limited to 140 characters, so some tweets (“one-liners”) are abbreviated and sometimes a little cryptic.

  • Occasional tweets today from UW Tacoma conference “transportation for the next economy” focused on Puget Sound region.
  • Conf Speaker: “large areas of state want “fair share” of revenue but oppose contributing “fair share” in taxes
  • Conf. Speaker: working against a perf. based, smart transpo bill is reality of needing certain less-critical projects to get “yes” votes
  • Fred Jarrett & Pat McCarthy: “we’re on our own” as Feds will never again provide major funding for #Transportation as it once did
  • Yes! Question about role of innovation in addressing #transportation issues. Seems like talk is always just about needing more $$
  • MT @rpuentes: Dep King Cty exec says comprehensive thinking on transport is not a core competence of state legislature
  • Audience Q: what can biz do to help get Transpo $$ frm legislature? Spkr: have their back during reelection campaign
  • Spkr: congress, state leg transpo decisions usually made on prsnl ideology, not on “what makes system work best” for biz, community
  • Spkr: “too often the transportation conversation is all about cost, not about value provided” to taxpayers, communities
  • Sonoma CA self-help county has audit & citizen oversight committees to address voter comfort with sales tax increase ballot measure.
  • 19 “Self help” counties in Calif have generated $4b in #transportation funds which they decide how to allocate. Mostly sales tax & tolling
  • 67% of transpo funds spent in Bay Area in coming years will be raised regionally. “We decide how to spend it – not DC, not Sacramento.”
  • Irony: Calif devolved so much transpo policy & funding to local level, & that in part is hurting getting high speed rail built
  • Both very conservative & very liberal counties have approved sales tax increases for transportation, stopped waiting for state to act