Goal 4: Support the development and diversification of the public transit systems

Leverage EXISTING Programs: Fund Coordinated Plans

Existing law (49 U.S.C. 5310, FTA Circular 9070.1) requires the development of "Coordinated Public Transit-Human Services Transportation Plans" in order to be eligible for certain funding. Decades of studies (GAO, TRB/TCRP, etc) highlighted service duplication, inefficiencies, disorganization, poor service quality, gaps in service coverage, etc. These studies recommended, among other things, increased coordination which led up to an Exec Order which resulted in these Coordinated Plan requirements.

Its a good concept with a fatal flaw, there is no funding for implementation of the Coordinated Plans. Increased coordination, service improvements, and cost control have not come about as a result of the Coordinated Plan requirements. This is due to the false assumption is that if there are transportation resources out there then you shouldn't need more resources too coordinate. Coordination among disparate operator types (public, private, NGO, etc) all with differing authority and funding streams is a significant undertaking and requires funding. From a well regarded public policy book, "…invocation of coordination does not necessarily provide either a statement of or a solution to the problem, but it may be a way of avoiding both when an accurate prescription would be too painful."(1) The accurate prescription in this case is additional funding and more strategic policies.

Federal funding should be provided with a "self help" incentive that could be structured to result in local jurisdictions developing new revenue streams to increase their federal funding eligibility. New revenue streams for seniors, disabled, veterans are typically easier to get approved at the ballot box.

With some changes to the Coordinated Plan requirements, this concept could also help with Goals 2, 3, and 5.

 

(1) Implementation: How Great Expectations in Washington Are Dashed in Oakland, Jeffrey L. Pressman, Aaron Wildavsky, 1984

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Idea No. 460