S.301 – Reforming the Department of Transportation
S.301 would eliminate the Commission of Transportation and transfer the Commission’s authority to the Secretary of Transportation. The Secretary would be a gubernatorial appointment with Senate confirmation. The bill would also abolish the Joint Transportation Review Committee.
This is an excellent reform that would help restore accountability to the DOT. The current system of legislative control leaves citizens unsure of who they should take concerns over DOT decisions to, and incentivizes DOT policies that favor local interests over the interests of the entire state. Establishing a clear line of accountability for the DOT would go a long way towards ensuring that maintenance work receives its proper attention, and that each county receives its appropriate share of DOT resources.
One notable reform that is absent in eliminating the State Transportation Infrastructure Bank (STIB). Since its inception, the STIB has only contributed funding to projects that either create entirely new roads or expand existing ones (by adding miles or widening lanes, etc.). Every dollar that goes to the STIB is a dollar that could have gone to maintenance instead of funding expansions.