Alliance formed between CUTR and the National Transportation Consortium of States
CUTR and the National Transportation Consortium of States (NTCS), an organization of state governments recognized for its research and technical information on public policies, recently agreed to form an alliance. As a result, in September 1997, NTCS will move its headquarters from Birmingham, Alabama, to CUTRs new facilities on the Tampa campus of the University of South Florida.
NTCS provides a forum for states to work together on transportation policy and delivery issues and acts as a national voice on the development of transportation policies. It represents an expansion of the Region IV Transportation Consortium (RTC), organized in 1986 under the auspices of the governors of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The RTC was reorganized into the NTCS in 1994 to provide for state participation at the national level. NTCS operates under a board of lead officials who are appointed by state governors and comprise a work group for the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Joint Council for Human Services Transportation. After the relocation to CUTR, NTCS Project Manager Lee Alexander will continue to oversee the administrative and research direction of NTCS, including funding and revenue, work plan control, and commitment to expansion of state membership. He also will work closely with CUTRs management team and access CUTRs research and support personnel and computer and communications technologies. The alliance will allow CUTR to conduct research collaboratively with NTCS, with a focus on policy issues.
According to Alexander, the most important policy effort of NTCS is promoting the establishment and creation of a presidential Executive Order to establish a Federal Transportation Coordination Council. (A draft order has been submitted to the White House for consideration.) This is being accomplished by working with all 50 states and several national organizations, including the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Community Transportation Association of America, the American Public Transit Association, the National Easter Seals Society, the American-Indian Information Network, the Multi-State Technical Assistance Program, and the American Public Works Association. The Executive Order will:
- lead to national emphasis on the need to coordinate federal transportation programs,
- encourage new research,
- improve state and federal relationships,
- improve coordination for state and federal transportation funding,
- assist with the successful implementation of welfare reform programs as they relate to transportation, access in job training, and employment programs, and
- improve Medicaid transportation access and coordination of public and educational transportation such as Headstart programs.
A project currently under way with the Federal Transit Administration and the American Public Works Association is a cooperative work program between all 50 states and the proposed Federal Transportation Coordination Council. It involves surveying the states to determine transportation coordination leadership and major policies and achievements in each state and to identify options to improve relationships between states and the council. This will lead to development of a strategic plan for a cooperative work program between the council and the states.
Some past projects of NTCS include conducting a national pilot study to identify barriers and policy solutions to the coordination of public transit and human service programs and performing research and technical assistance for the Human Services Transportation Research and Analysis Project and the Community Transportation Assistance Program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
When looking to affiliate with an organization and establish a permanent home, NTCS included among its requirements a state that has a long history in NTCS and is home to a federally-designated transportation research center that specializes in public policy aspects of transportation planning and is recognized by states nationally. The requirements naturally led to Florida and CUTR.
Florida is a charter member of NTCS and has also served as a national model for practice and research in transportation coordination, said Alexander. Our alliance with and relocation to CUTR recognizes Florida as a national model and CUTR as a quality research center.
Added CUTR Director Gary Brosch, CUTRs mission of conducting research and programs exclusively concerned with transportation planning and policy analysis at both the state and national levels blends well with NTCS.
NTCS maintains a committee structure to analyze policy issues in advance of quarterly meetings that consist of workshops attended by representatives from each state. The next meeting will be held in Charleston, South Carolina, in Fall 1997 and will be hosted by the South Carolina Department of Transportation.
For further information on the National Transportation Consortium of States, contact Lee Alexander at (205) 870-1174.
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