Rockefeller, Lautenberg Legislation Will Reform America's Rail, Highway and Waterway Systems

February 10, 2011

Acela TrainWASHINGTON, D.C.—Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.) and Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.), longtime Chairman of the Surface Transportation Subcommittee, today will reintroduce legislation to establish a transportation policy to meet America’s 21st century needs. Their bill, the Federal Surface Transportation Policy and Planning Act of 2011, would establish a clear set of goals and objectives for the Department of Transportation (DOT) to develop a surface transportation system that advances our nation’s economic, energy, and national security interests. The bill would accomplish this chiefly by establishing performance criteria to optimize implementation of DOT goals, by improving data collection, and by requiring States to report on the use of their Federal funding.

“The United States’ population is projected to increase by 50 percent between now and 2050. That’s 420 million people in America. That growth will exacerbate the wasteful and inefficient congestion and mobility challenges that plague our national surface transportation system today. What’s needed is a sound, national blueprint for a 21st century system that’s safe, efficient, and improves the mobility of people and American-made goods.” said Rockefeller. “This year, as we tackle the challenge of finding the most responsible way to invest in the much-needed improvements to our surface transportation infrastructure, I will work with my Senate colleagues to make sure that our Federal transportation is reformed to reflect both our current and future needs.”

"Our legislation establishes a long-overdue plan for the future of our surface transportation system. We need a national transportation mission that meets demand for generations to come and keeps us competitive with nations abroad. This legislation will set critical goals that improve safety, reduce congestion, create jobs, and protect our environment. A clear measurement of performance will help direct our transportation funding to projects that meet these goals for the future,” said Senator Lautenberg.

The surface transportation programs authorized under the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: a Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) enacted in 2005 expired at the end of 2009. The Obama Administration and Senate transportation leaders have indicated that reauthorization of these programs is a priority for the 112th Congress. The National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission created by SAFETEA-LU and other transportation policy experts have called for the creation of a cohesive national policy with performance-based outcomes, and a fundamental restructuring of the federal surface transportation programs. The Federal Surface Transportation Policy and Planning Act of 2011 establishes the foundation for making these reforms.

Major Goals of the Federal Surface Transportation Policy and Planning Act of 2011:

  • Reduce national per capita motor vehicle miles traveled on an annual basis;
  • Reduce national motor vehicle-related fatalities by 50 percent by 2030;
  • Reduce national surface transportation-generated carbon dioxide levels by 40 percent by 2030;
  • Reduce national surface transportation delays per capita on an annual basis;
  • Increase the percentage of surface transportation assets that are in a state of good repair by 20 percent by 2030;
  • Increase the total usage of public transportation, intercity passenger rail services, and non-motorized transportation on an annual basis;
  • Increase the proportion of national freight transportation provided by rail, waterway or multimodal services by 10 percent by 2020; and
  • Reduce passenger and freight transportation delays and congestion at international points of entry on an annual basis.