While Albuquerque City Council prepares to discuss an update to the City’s Complete Streets Ordinance, and amid all the insanity and horror of a reality show presidency, U.S. Senator Ed Markey (MA) and Representative Steve Cohen (TN) yesterday introduced the “Complete Streets Act of 2019” as a federal attempt to do the following:
- States would be required to set aside five percent of their federal highway money to create a “Complete Streets” program.
- Eligible entities would need to adopt a Complete Streets policy, participate in technical assistance, and create a prioritized plan for Complete Streets projects in their jurisdictions to access the funding.
- Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) would be responsible for certifying that Complete Streets policies meet minimum requirements set out by the United States Secretary of Transportation.
- The U.S. Secretary of Transportation, States, and MPOs would be required to adopt design standards for federal surface transportation projects that provide for the safe and adequate accommodation of all users of the surface transportation network, including motorized and non-motorized users, in all phases of project planning, development, and operation.
Federal Complete Streets legislation would, if signed into law, provide the framework outlined above while also providing a federal spider to the spider web of roughly 1400 city, county, MPO, State, Puerto Rico Complete Streets policies on various jurisdictional books.
Will this important measure pass and be signed into law? Nobody would bet anything approaching such sanity could possibly pass in such an insane period in our federal history, yet if the National Resources Management Act can pass/be signed into law…who knows?
In the invariable “build the plane as it flies” world of legislation, ideally the City Complete Streets effort would be coordinated with this new federal proposal, working with State of New Mexico, Albuquerque MPO, and Bernalillo County to create a process for funding and standards enabling a seamless transformation of our roadways.
Okay, Better Burque will stop dreaming now.
Instead, the transportation plane will, perhaps, be built including the very important federal framework/mandate of the proposal co-sponsored by Sen. Markey and Rep. Cohen. BB and others interested in transportation safety will watch and keep you posted as the half-constructed plane wobbles overhead.
Democracy is hard. Federalism is really hard.