The Bipartisan Policy Center's (BPC) National Transportation Policy Project (NTPP) has issued a statement of support for the actions of Chairman James Oberstar (D- MN) and Members of the U.S. House of Representative's Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee for recognizing that the nation's transportation policies and programs are in need of reform.

Calling the Surface Transportation Authorization Act of 2009 (STAA), which is currently under consideration by the Committee, “an essential first step in that effort,” NTPP noted that it “supports the need to redefine the federal role in surface transportation and agrees that federal surface transportation programs should be consolidated. The STAA importantly indicates that reform should align programs with national goals, require state and local governments to establish transportation plans with specific performance standards, and measure progress in meeting those standards.”

NTPP also said that the incorporation into the bill of measures to curb greenhouse gas emissions was an appropriate and desirable move. “This linkage is an essential element of NTPP's recommendations and must be incorporated into national transportation policy,” they noted.

“It will be very challenging for Congress to pass a six-year authorization bill before the current Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) expires in September 2009,” NTPP also noted. “NTPP agrees with Chairman Oberstar that there is a cost to delaying passage, and therefore any extension must ensure that the nation moves further along the path toward reform. The reforms proposed by the Administration, as part of an 18-month extension of SAFETEA-LU, would build data and analytical capacity to improve investment decisions.”

BPC, formed in 2007 by former U.S. Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker (R), Tom Daschle, (D) Bob Dole (R), and George Mitchell (D), pointed out that it seeks “to develop and promote solutions that can attract the public support and political momentum to achieve real progress… [by engaging] top political figures, advocates, academics, and business leaders in the art of principled compromise”