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AASHTO president testifies on MAP-21 implementation

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials President Mike Lewis asked Congress to enact the “transformative policy and program reforms” included in MAP 21 to take place before contemplating any major changes.

The Trucker News Services

4/25/2013

WASHINGTON — The head of the group representing highway transportation officials today urged Congress to encourage the U.S. DOT to “give priority to implementing the streamlining provisions” in MAP-21 in order “to expedite the economic, social, and environmental benefits that come from improving our transportation system.”

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials President Mike Lewis, director of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, testified before the Highways and Transit Subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, asking them to allow implementation of the “transformative policy and program reforms” included in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act to take place before contemplating any major changes.

“In short, we need time to put the reforms in place and have them work as envisioned,” Lewis said. “We are pleased with the progress being made in implementing MAP-21, and are optimistic that the flexibilities delegated to the states and the reforms envisioned by the drafters of MAP-21 will be appropriately reflected in future guidance and regulations. We support and applaud these reforms and urge you to continue these reforms as the platform for the next surface transportation reauthorization bill after fiscal year 2014.”

Among the reforms included in MAP-21 are ones designed to accelerate project delivery, improve efficiency through performance measurement and transparency, and systematically and effectively address freight transportation needs, according to an AASHTO news release.

Lewis said that state departments of transportation are pleased with the collaboration with the U.S. Department of Transportation in implementing MAP-21 reforms. But he asked that DOT focus national performance measures “on a credible, meaningful set of measures,” and that DOT “implement performance measurement through an iterative process that allows time for experimentation and innovation without fear of penalties.” Finally, Lewis asked that DOT include state DOT representation on the National Freight Advisory Committee.

“The reforms to the federal surface transportation program provided in MAP-21 will take years to implement,” said Lewis. “It will all be for naught, however, if Congress does not address the long-term stability of the federal surface transportation program. We stand ready to support you in your efforts to address this fundamental problem.”

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