Eno to Curate and Maintain STPP’s Archives

Eno to Curate and Maintain STPP’s Archives

November 15, 2019  | Robert Puentes

In the fall of 1990, a group of organizations got together to make the case that a comprehensive transportation policy serving economic, environmental, and social interests was vital to the future of the United States. While that may seem like an obvious argument now, it was fairly novel 30 years ago. That coalition was known then as the Surface Transportation Policy Project (STPP) and effectively kicked-off the national transportation reform movement.

The next year, STPP released a forward-looking policy platform called Acting in the National Interest: The Transportation Agenda. That document helped inform the drafting of federal transportation legislation: the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991. ISTEA is rightly considered a watershed moment in U.S. transportation policy. It offered a new framework for thinking about transportation by assuring states and metropolitan areas of specific levels of funding and giving them the flexibility needed to design transportation mixes that met their needs. Spurred on by these reforms, a small but increasing number of states and localities began to experiment with a more balanced mix by expanding and preserving highways, addressing the needs of older and newer communities, and deciding between building roads or enlarging public transit systems.

In the years that followed, STPP played a major role in monitoring trends, assessing programs, and advocating for additional reforms. The coalition worked inside Washington to impact future transportation authorizations, and on policy implementation across the country. As transportation policy discussions evolved, STPP’s transitioned into other affiliated organizations including Reconnecting America, Smart Growth America, Transportation for America, and the OneRail Coalition. This year, STPP officially closed-up shop.

While national transportation policy has come a long way in three decades, there is so much we can still learn from STPP. For example, recent Eno work shows we’ve essentially shifted focus from transportation in service of the national interest to the share of total funding states receive each year. And despite the federal framework set out in ISTEA, more often than not, investment choices are made on the basis of consensus building through logrolling. This means that funds are spread around essentially like peanut butter, rather than through a clear system of prioritization. Certainly, this is not what ISTEA’s framers had in mind.

Eno is committed to maintaining the online archive for STPP. On that website you will find a complete archive of reports, newsletters, and commentary. With major national surface transportation decisions coming before us in the coming years, we hope it can continue to serve as a helpful guide.

Share

Related Articles

USDOT Solicits Applications for $906M in FY20 INFRA Grants by Feb. 25

USDOT Solicits Applications for $906M in FY20 INFRA Grants by Feb. 25

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced this week that the available amount of competitive INFRA grant funding for fiscal year 2020...

House to Consider $1.25 Billion in FHWA Emergency Relief Appropriations Week of Jan. 27

House to Consider $1.25 Billion in FHWA Emergency Relief Appropriations Week of Jan. 27

House Democratic leaders today announced that the House will consider a $3.35 billion emergency supplemental appropriations bill the week...

Guest Op-Ed: Less Spectrum Means Less Safety

Guest Op-Ed: Less Spectrum Means Less Safety

We rarely hear about the 37,000 people who die every year on our roads. The statistics are staggering, which is a big part of the problem...

ACS Survey 5-Year Estimates: Commuting Trends Mostly Stable with Dips in Driving Alone

ACS Survey 5-Year Estimates: Commuting Trends Mostly Stable with Dips in Driving Alone

On December 19, 2019, the U.S. Census Bureau released the five-year estimates from the American Community Survey (ACS) conducted from...

Be Part of the Conversation
Sign up to receive news, events, publications, and course notifications.
No thanks