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Democracy Awards

Congressman Mark DeSaulnier

Representing the 11th District of California

DeSaulnier, Bustos, and Crawford Introduce Bi-partisan Act To Improve Public Trust In Transportation & Increase Returns on Transportation Investments

October 22, 2015
Press Release

Washington, DC Today, Representatives Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) and Cheri Bustos (IL-17), alongside Representative Rick Crawford (AR-1), introduced bi-partisan legislation to promote transparency and accountability in federal highway investments by requiring states to prioritize projects based on performance standards. While transportation agencies in California, Illinois, and other states are implementing similar measures, most states currently use limited or no performance criteria making it challenging for the public to understand how funds are being spent.

The “Metropolitan Planning Enhancement Act” (H.R. 3787) would rebuild public trust by increasing transparency during the project selection process, and ensure that funds are invested on merit as opposed to politics or connections. Further, this process helps better achieve local, state, and national transportation goals by prioritizing projects that bring the most value to communities.

“America’s infrastructure is at a crossroads. With increasing needs and diminishing resources, it is essential that we promote transportation investments that offer the highest return for taxpayers.  California has been a leader in evidence-based decision-making. I am proud of our work on this issue, and this bill expands on those efforts to promote transparency and create a new level of accountability for infrastructure investment across the country,” said Congressman Mark DeSaulnier. 

“Taxpayers deserve to know that major spending decisions are based on performance standards, not on political cronyism. By requiring new levels of transparency in major transportation investments, we'll ensure that tax dollars are used more effectively and efficiently,” said Congresswoman Cheri Bustos.

Specifically, the bill mandates that states develop criteria for how transportation projects are selected.  Among items that may be included are data on the usage, condition, and impact of the transportation system. All transportation projects would be required to be scored against competing proposalsand would include a description.

A brief summary of this bill can be found here. For an example of state performance standards, click here.