Transportation and Infrastructure

2.1 Preamble

Our nation’s multi-modal transportation and related-infrastructure systems support and enhance the economic growth of states and the nation. Infrastructure provides the skeletal network that connects the nation. Together, transportation and infrastructure help sustain quality of life, promote public safety and enable the flow of interstate and international commerce that underpins the United States’ competitive position in the global economy.

Governors affirm the following guiding principles in federal laws, regulations, and practices:

2.2 Guiding Principles

2.2.1 National Vision

  • To provide for our nation’s diverse mobility needs, transportation and infrastructure policies require long-term vision and funding stability.
  • The focus of federal transportation laws, regulations, and programs, regardless of mode, should include efficiency of delivery, reliability, capacity, system preservation, cost effectiveness, safety and security, innovative solutions, and partnerships.

2.2.2 Intergovernmental Partnership

  • A strong federal-state partnership is critical for our nation’s transportation and infrastructure systems because all levels of government have a role in transportation, which must be coordinated if we are to improve mobility and safety, protect the environment, and ensure the security of vital transportation and infrastructure assets.

2.2.3 Infrastructure

  • A national commitment to bring existing infrastructure into a state-of-good-repair, and in targeted and strategic places construct new infrastructure, advances the ability of the United States to meet basic mobility and service delivery needs. Infrastructure provides rural access and connectivity, strengthens economic competitiveness, helps reduce congestion, improves safety, supports environmental sustainability, and boosts quality of life.

2.2.4 Funding and Finance

  • All options must be on the table for ongoing evaluation because existing revenue sources are no longer adequate to support the various federal trust funds that help finance transportation and infrastructure.
  • Facilitating investment in infrastructure projects through existing and new self-sustaining financing mechanisms can help mitigate public funding shortfalls, particularly where there are sufficient estimated traffic levels. Successful mechanisms leverage capital markets and require borrowers to use revenues from projects to repay the financing, making capital available to lend for new projects. If federal funds help capitalize and sustain infrastructure- financing mechanisms, then those funds must be separate from trust fund revenues dedicated to core transportation programs.
  • Infrastructure financing options assist states in building and maintaining projects, but financing alone cannot replace reliable federal funding mechanisms.

2.2.5 Certainty and Stability

  • The design of federal funding mechanisms must maintain reliable, long-term funding certainty. The ability of state and local governments to plan and execute long-term, multi- year projects hinges on predictable federal funding.

2.2.6 Program Reforms

  • Reforming and restructuring federal transportation programs may improve them provided restructuring preserves core federal programs, limits federal requirements that preempt state spending flexibility, and prohibits earmarks that diminish core program funding.
  • Federal transportation programs and funding should provide maximum flexibility to the states for implementation and innovation because of our diversity of geography, population, and priorities.

2.2.7 Project Delivery

  • Streamlined project delivery that reduces approval and completion times and improves efficiencies, while achieving the intent that underlies critical environmental, planning and design, and procurement reviews, requires a federal commitment.
  • Governors encourage the use of leading-edge budgetary and analytical tools that, among other advantages, can help the public sector estimate life cycle costs for transportation and infrastructure investments to ensure that they are built and maintained for the long term.

2.2.8 Public Transportation

  • An ongoing, strong federal role is critical to help fund and deliver diverse public transportation solutions for metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas across the country.

2.2.9 Freight Mobility

  • A multi-modal, interconnected national freight system should remain a common national goal.
  • A federal freight strategy must provide flexibility for states to designate freight corridors within their borders, unconstrained by mileage limits, to connect to the national and international economy and to address states’ unique needs and geographic interests.
  • States have long recognized the importance of freight movement by engaging in extensive statewide and regional transportation freight planning, working with statewide freight advisory councils and delivering multi-modal freight transportation programs.

2.2.10 System Performance

  • Federal incentives that reward positive outcomes in matters such as congestion mitigation and safety are better than prescriptive federal penalties focused on preemption and unfunded mandates.
  • Outcome-oriented performance measures developed by states and national goals set by Congress should be clear, measurable, attainable, and fair.

2.2.11 Safety and Security

  • All levels of government must cooperate to improve the safety and mobility of our nation’s transportation systems, reduce fatalities and injuries, protect the environment, and ensure the security of infrastructure assets throughout the country.

Time limited (effective Winter Meeting 2017 – Winter Meeting 2019).
Adopted Winter Meeting 2017.