Public Transportation Policy the United Term Paper
- Length: 12 pages
- Sources: 8
- Subject: Transportation
- Type: Term Paper
- Paper: #19645457
Excerpt from Term Paper :
As with the Gallatin Plan, the 1908 Roosevelt vision exercised its influence over the long-term, eventually drawing on new technologies like the regional electric power grid and the automobile superhighway to achieve its ends" (Fishman, 2007). This period is important for the evolution of public transportation because it offers a perspective on the way in which different aspects of the world we see today have come about, the struggles and the incipient initiatives of the government along the years.
One of the most significant contributions to the issue of public policy transportation but in particular to the infrastructure on which the advanced policies would be based was that of FD Roosevelt, one of the most important presidents of the United States, the one that, through his presidential program often labeled as being of socialist origins, managed to draw the most powerful country out of the deepest recession of our times, the 1929 crisis. This achievement for which the history will always pay homage to Roosevelt was partly done through the improvement of the public transport policy. More precisely, the need for jobs in a time of crisis and disarray determined the president to seek new possible means of employment for the increasing number of people that were left without their basic means of subsistence (Jenkins, 1997). In this sense, new highways, roads, and a massive network of bridges were built at the time. The Interstate highway program, one of the most important achievements of the initiative was the connection point between two historical attempts to organize the country. Thus "Theodore Roosevelt's dream of an efficient national system of inland waterways to break the monopoly of the railroads was realized on land with the interstate highways that Franklin Roosevelt first envisioned in the late 1930s (and that Dwight Eisenhower finally funded in 1956.)" (Fishman, 2007).
Despite the fact that the initiatives undergone by Roosevelt were in fact the dramatic response in one of the most difficult situations the nation had to go through, the success of his acts proved the fact that indeed, action can be taken and things such as the infrastructure can be built both efficiently as well as in an useful manner. In this sense, to this day, there are visible the effects of the Public Works Administration projects which included the Bay Bridge, the Hoover Dam and Washington's National Airport (Cohen, 2007). Also, the period is relevant for the setting in place of the actual framework of the infrastructure, one that would eventually last for the decades to come. Thus, "the W.P.A. alone built 78,000 bridges and viaducts and improved 46,000 more. It constructed 572,000 miles of rural roads and 67,000 miles of urban streets" (Cohen, 2007)
The tensions of an ever growing economy, as well as the inability to maintain an equilibrium between the way in which economic process is achiever and the costs this process has on the environment has determined many voices of the American society to stand up for a better relationship between the evolution of the quality of our lives, and the need to keep the environment safe. "That means reinvesting in our crumbling highways and bridges and renewing our commitment to mass transit, solutions which will create jobs for the middle class. It also means expanding broadband access across America, and particularly to rural communities. Again, in our infrastructure challenge there is job-creating opportunity - to reinvigorate the American economy" (America 2050).
The issue of the impending need for the improvement of the policy in the transportation area as well as the infrastructure on which this is based requires deep thought in terms of political commitments and the proper management of funds. In this sense, the desire to invest in public transportation works has often been viewed as an initiative conducted by the Democratic Party taking into account the fact that in most situations, the Democratic wing has a particular interest for the problems of everyday Americans. However, despite the fact that "investing in the nation's buildings, transportation and overall mechanics has often been viewed as a Democratic issue," there are aspects of the evolution of the country which determines a different view on the matter. In this sense "with Georgia's water supply drying up, Representative John Linder, a Republican who has made a career of bashing Washington, is calling for a national commission on water resources. And after the Minnesota bridge collapse, the Senate passed a bipartisan bill to establish a national commission on infrastructure" (Cohen, 2007).
The situation has degraded dramatically according to reports considered on this issue. In this sense, alarm signals have been drawn since the early 1990 when it was considered that the state of most bridges in the country is rather negative. Thus, a matter of public transportation policy is related to the increasing need to reconsider the proper investments policy and discuss the actual priorities for any administration. More precisely, in 1991 "the nation's half-million bridges, many of them aging, need additional inspections and maintenance if we are to keep them from collapsing," was the opinion of one of the most important people in the area, the nation's top transportation safety official. (Associated Press, 1991) He goes on to admit that "our country's aging bridges need more than periodic replacement of a few rivets and strips of aluminum" (Associated Press, 1991). Therefore, it can be said that indeed the situation appears to be in need of reconsidering the financial investment in the infrastructure.
There is a particular need one must try to address when discussing the issue of transportation in America. Taking into account the fact that the entire system of government is relatively more complicated through the federal and state systems of government, in most situations when establishing a public policy issue, it is important to consider the issue of overriding the responsibilities of either the state authorities or the federal government. More precisely, in most situations, funds are given from the federal government to state authorities. However, there are numerous situations in which states are left alone to manage their own public policy works. In this sense, in the area of public transportation, an area in which comprehensive and coordinated actions must be taken, it is important that "an esprit de corps within the transportation industry be developed so that Congress can be presented with a unified declaration of national policy which is broad enough and clear enough to satisfy the needs of the industry and to develop and preserve a strong healthy well balanced national transportation system" (Johnson, 1953). Therefore, although this opinion revealed a situation concerning the 1950s, it is viable to this day, taking into account the lack of cohesion among the political forces and the financial bodies of the state.
Action has been taken in order to insure a better condition for the infrastructure in the U.S. In this sense, "National Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2004 establishes the National Commission on the Infrastructure of the United States to ensure that U.S. infrastructure meets current and future demand and facilitates economic growth" (a Bill to establish the NCI, 2004). Another bill would later on reconsider the issue of the National Commission on the Infrastructure of the United States in 2006 and 2007. The one from 2006 gave the Commission the capacity to address issues such as "the capacity of infrastructure improvements to sustain economic development and competitiveness, the age and condition of public infrastructure, the methods used to finance the construction, acquisition, rehabilitation, and maintenance of public works improvements, investment requirements needed to maintain and to improve facilities and the projected share of investment requirements and expenditures on infrastructure facility improvements by federal, state, and local governments, and estimates of the return to the economy from public works investment" (H.R. 5616, 2006). These aspects of the legislative process are important for two reasons at least. On the one hand there is the issue of their true declarative goal as part of the vision each government must poses in terms of a segment of the public area; on the other hand, they do represent an issue of concern regarding this matter and these declarations stand as important guiding lines for the policies conducted in a certain area.
From the perspective offered by these initiatives, it is fair to say that one of the most important strategies conducted at the level of the American public transportation level is related in the first instance to the attempt to actually see the situation of the infrastructure, more precisely the roads, the bridges, as well as the railway system. Following the incidents that have taken place in the last years, the aspect of assessing the situation and the damages in this respect is essential.
Improvements have been made in this area op public transportation. However, it must be pointed out the fact that the main idea about public transportation…