The Department of Transportation is 3 years from it’s 50th anniversary. This quote from Transportation Management, Economics, Policy, John L. Hazard, Cornell Maritime Press, Inc. 1977, page 552 , is still relevant 36 years later: Despite, the formation of the Department of Transportation in 1966, the nation still lacks a single transportation policy and a coherent plan of implementation. What are the prospects for attaining a cohesive transportation policy? Can the responsibility be established in a workable institutional and organizational framework? Is it possible to shift government from day – to – day coping to long range planning?
Sadly, the The answer to these questions are a resounding NO. However, the DOT does not deserve all the blame as Congress shares in the current state of our dysfunctional transportation policies by loading up transportation funding bills with excessive earmarks for pet projects with dubious ROI and micromanagement. (See the fine job that congress is doing in mandating to the Postal Service how to deliver mail.)
After the safety of the general public and transportation workers, the policies of the DOT need to be targeted to the modernization of infrastructure and the removal of barriers that inhibit the improved efficiency of all modes of freight transportation. We need less focus on bike paths, subsidized high speed passenger rail, bridges to nowhere, small regional airports with minimal passenger traffic, and dubious funding for continued road construction. More emphasis on realistic driver’s hours of service regulations, reforming the CSA program, changing the mechanism of highway funding, repair of existing roads not building new ones, and supporting safe and realistic truck/trailer size and weight regulations are just of few of the areas that the DOT needs to reform with the support of Congress. The private sector needs to be a partner with the DOT and Congress in effecting change, not a pinata.
How do you grade the DOT in it’s 47th year of existence?
Joe ( nice guy no freight) Lombardo