The 2016 US presidential election has been fraught with divisive discourse and reality television-style drama, but the top two leading candidates appear to actually agree when it comes to matters of transportation infrastructure and trade.
Robert Puentes, president and CEO of the Eno Center for Transportation, an independent nonprofit think tank, likened BART's situation to that of the New York subway, and other older transit systems, in the 1970s, when they were on the verge of collapse and in need of major investments. He said it's time for BART, Washington Metro and Atlanta's metro system, all opened in the 1970s, to fix themselves.
The fact that many of the biggest public transit systems along the East Coast, like Metro-North, are also among the nation's oldest creates more challenges, Paul Lewis, vice president of policy and finance at the Eno Center for Transportation, said. He said it very expensive to retrofit all of the trains in those systems with PTC.
Robert Puentes, chief executive of the Eno Center for Transportation in Washington, D.C., said it remained to be seen whether the string of crashes would lead riders to shift to transit modes such as cars or potentially move. He pointed to Washington’s Metro as an example of system where a spate of accidents and unreliability led to ridership declines. Mr. Puentes said transit agencies could pay for technology upgrades if they make it a priority. “We know haven’t taken full advantage of...
“Foxx has taken a different tack than previous secretaries, especially in his recognition that transportation investments can connect people, but can also separate people,” says Robert Puentes, president of the Eno Transportation Center, an independent Washington think tank. “Foxx’s lasting legacy will be the recognition that transportation is about something broader—it’s about connecting people. That thinking can ripple throughout the system.”
In 2011, the U.S. Department of Transportation provided more than $1 billion for Denver's FasTracks expansion. But private-sector investment and management has been pivotal for RTD, according to Robert Puentes, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Eno Center for Transportation, which promotes public transit.
Paul Lewis, vice president of policy at the Eno Center for Transportation, said its unclear how rigorous this data sharing with the government will be. "None of these [safety points] have standards associated with them," Lewis said. "It could be that a tech firm will write, ‘We will consider safety.’ Is that enough? It’s hard to judge what the value of this is."
Here we go again. With the end of the fiscal year looming, Congress is making noise about shutting down the federal government. While it looks like Washington may figure out a short-term spending bill to keep the government open we know this won’t be the last time the nation faces a potential shutdown.
This November, the power of the state and local governments in the American electoral process will be forcefully demonstrated. But in addition to the presidential drama, another election story, with dramatic lessons about state and local influence, will play out as Americans in nearly half the states vote on important questions related to transportation investments in their regions.
The P3 model is being used in other places across the country, but its success record has been mixed, said Emily Han, a P3 policy expert for the Eno Center for Transportation, a transportation think-tank based out of Washington, D.C. In order for the P3s to work well, governments need to dive into the details and divvy up who is accountable for different scenarios that may delay work or damage infrastructure.