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  • Meagan Dorsch
    Director of Public Affairs
  • Jon Kuhl
    Public Affairs/Media Specialist
    Washington, D.C.
April 14,2011

NCSL, NGA, NACO, NLC Release Guiding Principles on Surface Transportation 

Organizations highlight critical role of state and local elected official.

WASHINGTON—State and local officials believe that any new national vision for surface transportation requires a strong partnership among all levels of government and should follow guiding principles released jointly by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the National Governors Association (NGA), the National Association of Counties (NACo) and the National League of Cities (NLC).

The principles emphasize that the authorization must focus on reliability, system preservation, innovative solutions and partnerships. “This will require long-term vision and stable funding,” said NCSL Executive Director William T. Pound. “Our groups stand ready to work with Congress and the administration to achieve these goals.”

“State and local governments are responsible for 97 percent of the nation’s interconnected surface transportation systems and contribute nearly 75 percent of the annual cost to operate and maintain those systems,” said NGA Executive Director Dan Crippen. “It is vital that these leaders help craft this vision and that Congress and the Administration will move forward quickly to complete reauthorization.”

“Much of our economy and quality of life relates directly to the safe, efficient and cost-effective mobility of people and products on our highways, roads, bridges and transit systems,” said NACo Executive Director Larry E. Naake. “To achieve these objectives, Congress needs to work with state and local government officials to improve the way projects large and small are planned, funded and constructed.”

“A coordinated transportation system is the lifeline for communities large and small,” said NLC Executive Director Donald J. Borut.  He continued, “The ability to move goods and people easily depends on an integrated network of public transportation, roads, rails and bridges.  It is vital to the nation’s economic well-being that we focus on the most efficient ways to make this travel possible.”

The organizations developed the following seven policy principles to help guide discussions in Congress:

  • Funding and Finance. State and local elected officials support the continuation of the “user pays” principle to guide transportation funding, with all options on the table for evaluation.
  • Certainty and Stability. State and local elected officials support federal funding mechanisms designed to maintain reliable, long-term funding certainty.
  • Program Reforms. State and local elected officials support preservation of core federal surface transportation programs but recognize the need for program reforms, and support funding and program flexibility.
  • Project Delivery. State and local elected officials encourage federal efforts to streamline project delivery.
  • Mobility Needs. State and local elected officials support a strong federal role in funding equitable transportation solutions for metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas across the country.
  • System Performance. State and local elected officials support outcome-oriented performance measures developed by states and localities that are clear, measurable and fair.
  • Safety and Security. All levels of government must cooperate to improve the safety and mobility of the surface transportation system, protect the environment, and ensure the security of transportation assets throughout the country.


To view the complete Guiding Principles on Surface Transportation click here.

NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.