Mobility 21 fights for federal transportation funding and innovative tools to leverage local investment
(Victor Valley)– – During an advocacy trip to Washington, D.C. this week, Southern California’s leading transportation and business stakeholders from Mobility 21 joined together to advocate for increased federal funding for transportation and innovative tools to maximize local investment in infrastructure. Among the group and representing San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) was Dr. Ray Wolfe, SANBAG Executive Director. Representing Riverside County Transportation Commission was Anne Mayer, Executive Director.
Federal funding to improve and maintain Southern California’s aging goods movement infrastructure took top billing during Mobility 21’s advocacy trip. More than 43 percent of the nation’s containerized imports enter the Ports of Long Beach, Los Angeles, Hueneme and San Diego — creating jobs, income and tax revenue in all 50 states. Given Southern California’s role as America’s trade gateway, Mobility 21 members advocated for federal investment to improve the flow of trade to the rest of the nation, as well as to mitigate the congestion and air quality issues that are caused by the movement of goods through Southern California’s ports, highways and railways.
“The inclusion of a national freight movement policy in the federal transportation bill, MAP-21, was an important stepping-stone for transportation,” said Anne Mayer, Executive Director of the Riverside County Transportation Commission and Mobility 21 Chair.” Now we’re urging Congress to take a serious look at how to fund the nation’s goods movement infrastructure in Southern California, given its vital role in our national economy.”
Mobility 21’s diverse membership also brings the private sector’s voice to important transportation discussions.
“As the world’s largest package delivery and logistics business, we rely heavily on quality transportation and believe it is vital to economic growth,” said Noel Massie, President of UPS Central California and Mobility 21 Advisory Board Member.“ If each one of our U.S. small package delivery drivers is delayed by 10 minutes each day, the cost to UPS is $125 million per year. Without a doubt, we need to invest more in transportation, and invest wisely.”
In addition to advocating for federal transportation funding, trip participants brought suggestions to stretch local tax dollars further through innovative financing tools, reduced red tape, and non-traditional project delivery methods, including public-private partnerships and design-build.
“We need greater flexibility from the federal government to maximize the substantial transportation investment Southern Californians make at the local level through sales tax measures,” said Art Leahy, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority CEO and Mobility 21 Board Member. “The creation of America Fast Forward bonds, coupled with the ability to develop local hiring initiatives, will help us deliver transportation projects years ahead of schedule and create jobs locally much sooner.”
Mobility 21’s legislative briefing materials can be viewed online at http://bit.ly/WMBDrg.