Transportation Thursdays

NOTE: NARC newsletters are typically uploaded to the website on the Friday of the week they were sent out.


January 12, 2017

Chao Breezes Through Confirmation Hearing
Yesterday, Transportation Secretary-designate Elaine Chao had her hearing before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. Chao was introduced by her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and was praised for her experience from both sides of the aisle, indicating a likely easy, bi-partisan confirmation in the pending full Senate vote. When questioned about Trump’s infrastructure package, Chao indicated that it would include federal funding but did not mention specific numbers. She also acknowledged the need to fix the Highway Trust Fund as a top priority. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) inquired about her position on privatizing air traffic control to which she stated that the administration has not made a decision and is open to ideas. When Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) asked about her position on the MPO Coordination Rulemaking, Chao said that based on what she learned in the lead-up to her confirmation hearing, she promised to take a more in-depth look and work with Senator Duckworth on the matter. Based on the friendly atmosphere in the hearing room, her confirmation is all but guaranteed.

House Oversight Committee Scraps Transportation Subcommittee
House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) announced that the subcommittee on transportation and public assets will be changed to an intergovernmental affairs subcommittee. The transportation subcommittee had maintained oversight on agencies such as Amtrak, Washington DC’s Metro, and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Representative John Mica (R-FL) chaired the previous subcommittee, but lost his seat in November. The new subcommittee will focus on the relationship between federal government, states, and municipalities.

Performance Management Final Rules Released
Two Performance Management Final Rules were made available on Monday in advance of their publication in the Federal Register. You can find the two rules below:

NARC prepared extensive comments for these rules and will be reviewing the changes in more detail and providing a more thorough analysis shortly. Several substantial changes were made to the proposed system performance rulemaking, including a new measure of greenhouse gas emissions and the application of Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) measures to areas of 200,000 population beginning with the second performance period (the first performance period threshold was 1 million).

FHWA will hold a webinar on the System Performance/Freight/CMAQ Performance Measures Final Rule on January 26 and the Pavement and Bridge Condition Performance Measures Final Rule on January 25. See the opportunities section for more details.

Developing and Advancing Effective Public Involvement and Environmental Justice Strategies for Rural and Small Communities
This FHWA resource aims to help transportation planners and decision makers in rural areas create effective strategies for public involvement and engage environmental justice communities. Six areas with populations under 200,000 were chosen as project sites for the research, including Tahoe MPO, Valdosta-Lowndes MPO, Midland Area Transportation Study, St. Joseph Area Transportation Study Organization, San Angelo MPO, and Yakima Valley Conference of Governments.

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MORPC Semifinalist in Hyperloop Challenge
The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission’s (MORPC) Midwest Connect proposal was selected as a semifinalist in the Hyperloop One Global Challenge this week. Their proposal would connect Chicago with Pittsburgh, creating a new corridor via hyperloop through Indiana and Ohio. The Global Challenge kicked off last May with an open call for proposals. The 35 finalists span 17 countries, with 11 of the teams selected from the U.S. MORPC now has the opportunity to further develop its proposal before finalists are picked in May.

NACTO City Data Sharing Principles
The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), an association of 49 U.S. cities, has released Data Sharing Principles to help guide cooperation between cities and private mobility providers. Mobility providers, such as Uber, collect high-quality GPS data that can provide a window into the operation of city streets and will be extremely useful for cities. The NACTO data sharing framework will give cities access to data already being collected and improve planning and policy decisions.

View full list of jobs!

Administrative Professional I
West Florida Regional Planning Council, Pensacola, FL

Planner II
West Florida Regional Planning Council, Pensacola, FL

Department Director of Communications
San Diego Association of Governments, San Diego, CA

View full list of grants and events!

Talking Freight: Truck Parking Issues and Initiatives
January 18, 1:00 – 2:30 PM ET
Truck parking is one of the biggest issues currently facing the trucking industry. The American Transportation Research Institute conducted a survey, Critical Issues in the Trucking Industry, and found that truck parking availability ranks as the 4th highest priority issue within the industry. To address the issue, both the trucking industry itself and public sector governments are taking steps to find ways to improve truck parking availability. This webinar will feature a discussion about truck parking needs from the trucking industry’s point of view and truck parking initiatives that both the industry and government agencies are undertaking to address this critical need.

TMIP Webinar: Enhanced Methods to Forecast Travel Behavior in Response to Travel Time Reliability and Pricing
January 18, 2:00 – 4:00 PM ET
This webinar describes the work undertaken to enhance the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) activity-based model’s sensitivities to priced infrastructure and travel time reliability. This project focused on enhancements related specifically to the model’s ability to accurately represent demand on current and future toll and high-occupancy toll lanes. The SANDAG activity-based model is a member of the Coordinated Travel-Regional Activity based Modeling Platform (CT-RAMP) family of models in use by many large MPOs in the U.S. The model system includes a detailed representation of space, stop-to-stop transit utility calculations, and was recently updated to include an all-streets representation of walk and bike accessibilities. The model is applied to a fully-attributed synthetic population of San Diego residents and includes disaggregate tour-based model components for non-resident overnight visitors, Mexican residents, internal-external trips, and airport trips.

Pavement and Bridge Condition Performance Measures Final Rule Webinar
January 25, 2:00 – 3:30 PM ET
On January 9th, FHWA released a copy of the final rule to address new requirements established by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). This final rule also reflects the passage of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which made changes in the significant progress determination and the Interstate pavement condition penalty provisions related to the National Highway Performance Program (NHPP). The NHPP is a core federal-aid highway program that provides support for the condition and performance of the NHS and the construction of new facilities on the National Highway System (NHS). The NHPP also ensures that investments of federal-aid funds in highway construction are directed to support progress toward the achievement of performance targets established in a state’s asset management plan for the NHS.

System Performance/Freight/CMAQ Performance Measures Final Rule Webinar
January 26, 2:00 – 3:30 PM ET
On January 9th, FHWA released a copy of the final rule to address new requirements established by the MAP-21 and the FAST Act. The final rule establishes the measures and processes for state DOTs and MPOs to establish and report targets, and for FHWA to assess their progress in meeting those targets.  These requirements will help FHWA better communicate a national performance story and more reliably evaluate the impacts of federal funding investments. State DOTs and MPOs will use the information and data generated to inform transportation planning and programming decisions.

Path to a Walkable Future
February 8, 2:00 – 3:00 PM ET
Walkable communities are the most successful when people come together to create a place where every person has safe, accessible, and enjoyable active transportation. This America Walks webinar will address questions such as what kind of coalitions and partnerships have worked best in creating walkability? And how can walking advocates work with other sectors to create vital and vibrant communities for the future?

 2017 National Conference of Regions
February 12-15 – Washington Court Hotel, 525 New Jersey Ave NW Washington, DC
The National Conference of Regions is NARC’s forum to determine key policy issues and a legislative agenda for the year ahead, targeting topics central to our members’ missions and their local elected officials’ focus. Additional information will be available soon. Capitol Hill Day is the final day of the conference, February 15, 2017.

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