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Strategies for Defining the Core Federal Role in Surface Transportation

The National Transportation Policy Project of the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) has consistently advocated for a consolidated, accountable, and performance-based federal surface transportation program. BPC has proposed specific program consolidations, ideas for improving accountability, and various performance measures. Defining areas of responsibility for the federal program—in other words, defining the core federal role in surface transportation—has proved particularly challenging, however.

BPC recommends moving toward a “mode-neutral” federal program that effectively targets federal resources to advance five core national goals:

  • Economic Growth
  • National Connectivity
  • Metropolitan Access
  • Energy Security and Environmental Protection
  • Safety

In an effort to move the conversation forward, BPC convened an expert group to explore how Congress might go about defining the federal role and core national transportation interests. This paper summarizes the work and findings of that group.

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