The Urban Land Institute and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials released reports last week outlining ways for the transportation sector to pursue a wide range of approaches to reduce vehicle travel and make the system more fuel-efficient. The previous week, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood emphasized to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee the importance of cutting the number of miles that Americans drive and creating "livable communities" that give people alternatives to driving, such as public transit and pedestrian and bike paths that link to transit hubs.
But strategies that aim to get people out of their cars and off the roads also mean less revenue for the ailing Highway Trust Fund, which last week needed a $7 billion transfer from the general fund (on top of the $8 billion it got last September) to meet its funding commitments for the current fiscal year. Are strategies to cut carbon emissions from transportation harmful to the long-term viability of the Highway Trust Fund? How can we achieve the goals of cutting transportation emissions and increasing trust fund revenue?