September 13, 2010
Classifieds in this issue include executive and managerial positions with transit agencies and vendors throughout North America!
AASHTO: Increase Rural Transportation Investment
Rural parts of the U.S. are too often left out of policy discussions concerning the need to improve connectivity throughout the nation, according to a new report from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).
Connecting Rural and Urban America, released Aug. 30 at events in Little Rock, AR, and Wichita, KS, describes the need for increased rural transportation investment to connect new and emerging cities; improve access for the travel, recreation, and tourism industries; and ensure reliable access to key defense installations.
“Improving connectivity and mobility for the 60 million Americans who live in rural areas is just as important as improving mobility for those who live in metropolitan areas,” AASHTO Executive Director John Horsley said. “Rural states are essential to the nation’s success, not only to meet the needs of their own citizens, but also to maintain their part of the national network on which the U.S. economy depends.”
One suggestion in the report is to shift trips to other modes when possible. “Significantly increasing transit service will be an important component in ensuring affordable transportation and access to jobs and other services in communities all across America. Increased transit use can help reduce congestion as well as greenhouse gas emissions. Critical to improving metropolitan mobility, it will also become increasingly important to serve the rising number of older persons, especially in rural America.”
At the report release in Wichita, Kansas Transportation Secretary Deb Miller cited public transit, rail, and aviation as ways the state can solve its rural capacity challenges.
Connecting Rural and Urban America noted, for example, that as of 2008, more than 9.6 million people age 65 and above live in rural areas—and they rely heavily on public transportation and rural roads.
The report lists three components of any federal transportation authorization bill necessary to ensure the connectivity of rural and urban America:
• Double federal investment in rural transit systems to meet rising demand;
• Expand the existing capacity of the Interstate system, upgrade rural routes to Interstate standards, and connect newly urbanized areas to the Interstate system; and
• Continue to fund rural portions of the Interstate Highway System and other federal-aid highways that connect America.
For more information and to see state examples of rural capacity needs, click here.