Mobility Choice Coalition Launches 10-Point Policy Blueprint to Move US to a Competitive Transportation Market
Mobility Choice, a new project of the Institute for Analysis of Global Security (IAGS), released its 10-point Blueprint for Mobility Choice outlining a market-oriented approach to expanding competition among transportation modes for the purpose of reducing oil’s strategic value.
Mobility Choice brings together Anne Korin and Gal Luft, co-directors of the IAGS; R. James Woolsey, former CIA director; Robert C. McFarlane, former National Security Advisor; Cliff May, president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies; and Deron Lovaas, Federal Transportation Policy Director for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
America’s dependence on oil not only undermines our economy, it also poses serious risks to our national security. We must act now to strip oil of its status as a strategic commodity by eliminating government regulations that stifle competition and promote inefficiencies in our transportation system.—Anne Korin
The Blueprint for Mobility Choice lays out four guiding principles on how to move to a competitive transportation market in America. Following these principles, the Coalition proposes 10 transportation policies that will remove barriers to competition among transportation modes.
The four principles are:
Align price signals to consumers closer to a full and transparent reflections of the costs—i.e., as much as possible pricing goods so users pay true costs and are not subsidized by or subsidizing others.
End federal bias for any particular transportation mode by basing investments on performance criteria and allocating costs based on use.
Push responsibility down to the metropolitan level where most traffic and oil-savings potential is located, with expanded accountability for performance.
Aggressively deploy technology to improve operations in each transportation mode.
These principles results in the following ten policy suggestions:
Ensure the price of fuel better reflects oil’s security impact—an oil security fee should be levied either per barrel or at the pump.
Deploy HOT lanes and Congestion Pricing. Highway Trust Fund financing for new highway, bridges and tunnel infrastructure should be to the extent possible shifted to user fees based on tolls, and incorporating congestion pricing where appropriate.
Allocate transit dollars to optimize oil savings. Transit routes that have the highest load factors save the most oil. Thus, the coalition argues, taxpayer monies allocated to transit should go to capital improvements that would improve service on those high-load routes, or add new routes expected to be consistently high-load.
Increase insurance choice. Today, low-mileage drivers subsidize risk for high-mileage drivers, distorting price signals for driving. Legislation should lift state regulations that prevent pay-as-you-drive insurance.
Transit vouchers. To encourage mobility competition and to allow transit agencies to become more self-sustaining, transit vouchers could be provided for low-income neighborhoods.
Unburden the trip not taken. Accelerate the adoption of telecommuting though judicious policies.
Return gas tax revenue to areas with the most traffic and oil savings potential. Metropolitan areas, which host most of the population, employers, GDP and traffic, are the logical recipients of a large proportion of federal gas tax receipts.
Liberalize local land-development rules.
Deploy smart traffic management technologies. The new program should include a strategic technology plan for rapid deployment.
Deploy electric rail if justified by cost efficiency and oil displacement potential.