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Pena unveils highway vision; heightened local input is required.

Secretary of Transportation Federico Pena outlined his vision of a National Transportation System (NTS) during a press conference on the report of the proposed National Highway System (NHS) at Union Station on December 9.

Pena believes the NTS is essential because "[a]ll too often, transportation investments at all levels of government have been made mode by mode-on highways, on just transit, on just airports - without making connections between modes or weighing alternatives. The availability of Federal funding for specific models has sometimes contributed to skewing choices toward certain transportation facilities and away from more cost-effective alternatives."

Pena envisions the NTS as incorporating "the most significant elements of the nation's transportation systems - airports, ports, waterways, rail, intercity bus lines, pipelines, and local transit systems." He sees the NTS as clarifying interrelationships of all these elements.

Calling the NTS vital to our future economic competitiveness. Pena said, "A comprehensive National Transportation System will help us meet the challenges of the 21st century global economy by enhancing all our different modes of transportation and their links."

The NTS will allow local transportation planners "to project changes in economic and population patterns so that they can anticipate, plan for, and meet the changing transportation needs of the communities we serve." The Secretary also said, "the NTS will be related closely and consistently to the State and local planning processes set forth in ISTEA."

Pena assured local governments "the NTS does not imply any new emphasis on centralization of transportation decisions. Both in formulating the national system and in implementing future investment decisions suggested by it, the state, local and community input mandated by ISTEA will be required - and welcome."

The designation of the NHS is called for in the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA).

The Department of Transportation (DOT) will soon be conducting extensive public hearings to develop the NTS and decide which systems and networks it should include. The NTS will affect all cities. Municipalities are urged to participate in the upcoming hearings.

Any members who wish copies of the NHS/NTS report issued by DOT may call Cara Woodson at NLC (202) 626-3021.
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Title Annotation:Secretary of Transportation Federico Pena
Author:Woodson, Cara
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Dec 20, 1993
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