In a historic meeting between the chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and TTI leaders, Rep. James Oberstar arrived in College Station last month for a tour, saying “TTI creates a forum where ideas can clash.”
Called “Mr. Transportation” by Rep. Chet Edwards, who arranged the visit, Oberstar often mentions TTI’s research during public speeches. Prior to a news conference in the TransLink® Laboratory, Oberstar met with Institute leaders and outlined his “future of transportation,” which focuses on transforming surface transportation programs, increasing multimodalism, enhancing livable communities, and developing new methods to fund and approve infrastructure projects.
Oberstar was given an overview of TTI, which included details of the Freight Shuttle, a sneak peak of the soon-to-be released Urban Mobility Report and a briefing on the Transportation Performance Measurement Program (a collaborative effort between TTI and the University of Minnesota, which is in Oberstar’s home state).
“I salute you for your vision,” the 17-term congressman told attendees. “A big problem facing America is the cost of logistics [the movement of people and goods]. And it’s going up.”
During the news conference and gathering with members of the Bryan/College Station Mobility Initiative, Oberstar detailed his committee’s proposed $450 billion transportation bill that calls for streamlining federal funding mechanisms. “We’re at a point where the current formula is not working very well,” he said. “We need to attack the major congestion choke points in America.” Oberstar blamed some of our congestion problems on the amount of time it takes to approve infrastructure projects.
The new transportation bill should be sent to the House floor in the next few weeks.
Oberstar heard from the mayors of Bryan and College Station and the Brazos County Judge. The elected officials outlined their local road project priorities and their concerns about future congestion problems.