Center gives report in D.C.
Former Virginia Gov. Gerald Baliles seeks to raise Congressional transportation reform awareness
Former Virginia Gov. Gerald Baliles, director of the Miller Center of Public Affairs, presented a report yesterday afternoon in Washington, D.C. which aimed to make Congressional lawmakers more aware of national transportation issues.
The substance of the report came from discussions which took place last fall at a transportation conference the Miller Center hosted at its Washington, D.C. location. The David R. Goode National Transportation Policy Conference brought together about 60 of the nation's top transportation officials, including five former Secretaries of Transportation and the chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
In his remarks yesterday, Baliles outlined four ways Congressional leaders could improve the way they approach transportation issues: framing the transportation debate around issues of economic growth; keying the conversation to the rhythms of an election year; using the media to increase public awareness; and linking local transportation investment opportunities to national policies. Published and presented in fall 2010, the Miller Center's first transportation report contained "substantive" policy recommendations on which Congress has yet to take action, said Heather Crislip, special assistant for policy programs at the Miller Center.
"Nothing has happened since," Baliles said in his remarks yesterday. "We're sitting still, if not moving backwards."
This second policy report, which Baliles presented, focuses instead on how to make transportation a significant issue for policymakers.
"We hope to make transportation an issue in public discourse so that people are talking about how we [can] invest again in our infrastructure," Crislip said. "[And] to gain some attention to the issue and gain some national attention in the coming months."
Federal policymakers will not take initiative in reforming existing systems "without a mandate from the broader public," former transportation secretaries and conference co-chairs Norman Y. Mineta and Samuel K. Skinner wrote in the report presented yesterday.
The report, titled "Are We There Yet? Selling America on Transportation," is available on the Miller Center's website.