Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Transportation Compact

The Full Executive Office of Transportation and Public Works sent me the full text of the Massachusetts Mobility Compact (PDF). It is even more disappointing than Bernard Cohen's op-ed column.

The purpose of the compact is to coordinate the various state transportation-related agencies, which is a great idea. But, the agencies have inherently conflicting objectives. They need more than a promise to talk amongst themselves, they need a clear vision that will help them resolve the inevitable conflicts that will arise.

The compact doesn't have that vision. Section 2 is the compact's closest thing to a vision statement:

The Compact’s principal mission shall be to improve the delivery of transportation services in the Commonwealth by communicating regularly and more effectively and by adopting a cooperative and coordinated approach to transportation planning, design, construction, and operation, aimed principally at:
a. increasing mobility for people and goods in, across and through the Commonwealth in a safe and efficient manner;
b. promoting and adopting administrative efficiency and program improvement initiatives between and among transportation agencies and authorities; and
c. sharing best practice techniques for implementation across transportation modes.

Not a single mention of (or even allusion to) global warming, the health effects of traffic congestion, or the quality-of-life effects of traffic congestion. Nothing.

Arguably, the Massachusetts Mobility is meant to be limited in scope to its administrative purpose: to make the agencies play together better. But Section 2 seems an awful lot like a vision statement. If it's not, then the thing desperately needs one.

The lack of a good strong vision statement in the Massachusetts Mobility Compact means that Secretary Cohen's op-ed is the most complete statement of the Commonwealth's transportation priorities.

That's not promising.

This is a transportation policy?
Coordinating transportation

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