The National Academy of Public Administration, representing the top organizations of state, local and county officials, is forming an inter-governmental forum on transportation financing to identify short- and long-term alternatives to the growing highway funding crisis.

“We are seeking a results-oriented set of recommendations based on sound research and broad public input,” said Mortimer L. Downey, former Deputy Secretary of the Dept. of Transportation (DOT) and the forum’s chairman. “The future productivity and mobility needs of the nation depend on surface transportation. Without a reasonable solution, our long-term economic competitiveness in the world economy is in jeopardy.”

With the Federal Highway Trust Fund slated to run out of money soon while frustrations grow over traffic congestion, highway safety and uncertain energy supplies, Downey said the forum would allow leaders from across the governmental spectrum to develop workable strategies to finance the future transportation needs of this country.

The forum will hold a series of public meetings and panels throughout 2007, bringing together people working at all levels of government– federal, state and local– to build collaborative options that will consider the balanced needs of transportation, energy policy, national security and the environment. The forum hopes to generate a final report chock-full of specific recommendations as a result of these meetings, Downey said.