And I feel fine. I get quoted as Eric Jaffe writes a thorough piece in Atlantic Cities about The End of Federal Transportation Funding as We Know It :
“David Levinson, transport scholar at the University of Minnesota, has proposed a number of new governance models. One popular plan, drafted with Matthew Kahn and published by Brookings in 2011, outlines a three-step federal model of first fixing existing roads with the gas tax, then expanding them with competitive funding, then rewarding strong projects with subsidies. At his Transportationist blog, Levinson has also suggested limiting the federal role to research and regulation.
The best system, he says, might reduce central authority and reconfigure state departments of transportation as public utilities. In this ‘enterprising’ model, as Levinson called it in a January report [PDF], a new transport utility would work with a local oversight commission to establish fair usage rates and maintain service quality. Australia operates with this type of system, as does the multi-modal TransLink agency in Vancouver, as do water and sewage and electric companies in the United States.
If infrastructure governance were a bit more decentralized, says Levinson, you’d expect innovative concepts like enterprising transport to reach the fore. (‘It’s the ‘laboratories of democracy’ idea,’ he says.) Then again, given the complexity of the situation, not to mention the general intransigence of the federal government in recent times, it seems quite possible that lawmakers will respond to the urgent need for transport funding reform with no reform at all.
‘My sense is it’s more likely to fade away than it is be reversed in terms of a great new federal role or be eliminated entirely,’ says Levinson.’ The status quo policy is to leave the gas tax where it is, and it will slowly diminish over time until it becomes almost an irrelevancy. If I had to predict what I think will happen over the next 20 years, I think that’s the most likely outcome.'”