The conventional framework to fund and finance investments in surface transportation in the United States is facing increasing resource challenges at all levels of government, while increasing demands on the system continue to put pressure on policy makers to respond with timely funding and financing solutions. Considering these pressures, SAFETEA-LU established two study commissions, the first tasked to provide policy and revenue recommendations for the next fifty years, and the second to determine the condition of the Highway Trust Fund and the continued feasibility of its funding mechanisms. The commissions produced their reports that subsequently have shaped discussions of future national legislation as well as appropriate federal, state, metropolitan, and local roles in future development and operation of the nation's surface transportation system.
This NCHRP project was proposed to build on the work of these commissions, previous NCHRP studies, and other work to define viable options for funding and financing surface transportation infrastructure at the federal, state and local levels in the coming decade. The project was to consider financing tools to be used by states, cities, counties and transit authorities to fund transportation improvements; roles of tolling and public-private partnerships to facilitate system development and operation while protecting the public interest; roles of joint ventures with residential and commercial development to facilitate provision of critical road and transit access; and use by states, cities and counties of such financing techniques as tax Increment financing and joint powers agreements. The project was expected to support other AASHTO activities to engage policy makers in discussions to judge viability of funding and financing options, considering both short-term issues of implementation and longer-term sustainability of revenue streams adequate to ensure that the nation's transportation future needs can be met.
AASHTO and NCHRP staff subsequently determined that the objectives of this proposed project would be better met through other AASHTO activties. The project was delisted by the NCHRP 20-24 project panel and the funds reallocated to other activities.