Unintended effects of federal transportation policy: a look at the lifecycle costs of the interstate system
Author(s)Lukmann, Andrew T
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Technology and Policy Program.
Frederick P. Salvucci.
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The federal surface transportation program in the United States stands at a crossroads. Short on money and lacking vision, the program is in need of reevaluation and reform. This thesis attempts to illustrate the current issues affecting the program within the historical context of transportation system development and proposes a series of policy reforms to refocus the program. An analysis of the history of US transportation policy demonstrates ongoing persistent trends towards multimodal approaches, increased federal involvement and a shift in focus from rural development to enabling the growth of metropolitan economies. The analysis also shows how Congress has historically made significant progress when an over-arching vision can be connected to implementation mechanisms that provide new funding to broad constituencies in all fifty states. By positing a basic model utilizing infrastructure lifecycle costs to illustrate the dynamics of systematic infrastructure needs, the research demonstrates the added costs of past policies - particularly deferred maintenance - and the implications of current inaction. The research finds an estimated $7.2 billion dollar shortfall in annual funding on the Interstate system alone - mostly for reconstruction. Additionally, the results indicate a significant increase in annual system costs ($28.3 billion vs. $18.82 billion) under a regime of deferred maintenance as opposed to regular upkeep. Using this as a foundation, the balance of the work discusses the political argument in support of a federal role in system maintenance, recommends a series of policy reforms to address short and long term issues with the federal program and presents an overview of possible revenue streams to fund these changes. The thesis then recommends that a new national multimodal vision, focused on state of good repair and the opportunity to generate short-term construction jobs and long-term economic growth, can be the basis for successful reauthorization legislation.
Thesis (S.M. in Transportation)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering; and, (S.M. in Technology and Policy)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Engineering Systems Division, Technology and Policy Program, 2009.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Engineering Systems Division.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Technology and Policy Program.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Civil and Environmental Engineering., Engineering Systems Division., Technology and Policy Program.