Planes, Trains and Automobiles

February 10, 2012

In our constantly moving global economy, we all rely on a complex web of transportation. Yet, while the nation keeps bustling forward, our transportation system is being left behind. Washington is taking note as the Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, addressed the issue by suggesting "it was very unlikely that a transportation reauthorization bill will pass in the current session." While the merits of the reauthorization bill have been questioned by both parties, Donna Cooper, Fels Alumna and Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, argues that the bill has “seven fatal flaws”, the fact remains that once again political gridlock is preventing a bill from moving through Congress.

So where do we go from here? In hopes of arriving at a solution, Executive Director of Fels, David Thornburgh moderated a panel of transportation experts at the National Constitution Center. The panel of James Simpson, Commissioner, NJ Department of Transportation, Joshua Schank, President & CEO, Eno Transportation Foundation, Dr. Martin Wachs, Professor at UC Berkeley, and Jack Basso, COO, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials met just as the House Transportation Committee was putting the final touches on the $260 billion dollar, five year transportation funding bill that drew fire from both ends of the political spectrum. This new bill and other related movements in Washington were heavily debated. The panel also reflected on past events and how even accidents such as Minneapolis's 35W Bridge Collapse in 2007 only brought the nation's attention to our crumbling transportation system for a brief moment. Despite the current state of the transportation reauthorization bill the panel agreed that "we are moving forward, but only slowly."

Click on the link below to listen to Fels Executive Director, David Thornburgh's thoughts on the transportation system and its current place in the government. David's observations on issues that affect business, government, and nonprofits in the region can be heard each week on KYW 1060 AM throughout the Greater Philadelphia region.

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