Transportation for America has released Making the Most of MAP-21, a 109-page handbook that attempts to explain the many changes in federal transportation policy — positive and negative — and outline how local officials and advocates can help get involved and urge states to make sure that MAP-21 money is used for the priorities of local communities.
The two-year transportation bill passed last year — MAP-21 — essentially holds spending level at $52.5 billion a year. In many ways, MAP-21 looks and feels the same as the previous transportation law, SAFETEA-LU. However, MAP-21 makes significant changes to federal transportation policy that are critical to understand.
For example, federal law no longer sets aside a minimum amount of money for repairing our roads and bridges, leaving it to states to decide whether to repair or replace what we have, or to build new facilities that will themselves need to be maintained. More types of projects now compete for the money allocated to metropolitan areas. The law cuts by a third the money dedicated to make our roads and neighborhoods safer for walking or biking, but it gives localities more direct control over what remains.
Much of the impact of these changes will depend upon how well state departments of transportation manage affairs and attend to the needs of all their constituencies. Transportation for America’s Making the Most of MAP-21 can help engaged stakeholders, local officials and citizens to push for genuine progress and vigilantly monitor the impact of MAP-21.