All levels of government in the U.S. are at fiscal crossroads, and the public finance of our transportation and land use systems is no exception.  Population and travel continue to grow, albeit more slowly in recent years, but mainstay sources of revenues, from property taxes, motor fuels taxes, and the like, have been lagging needs for years.  New revenue sources, like special assessments and local option transportation sales taxes, have increasingly, but only partially, filled the widening gap.  Calls on limited property taxes – for fire and police, schools, streets and roads, and so on – have never been greater, and projections show that fuel tax rates might need to be tripled to catch up with growing needs just to maintain crumbling street, highway, and public transit systems.  Despite pressing needs, increasing property taxes in California remains beyond the political pale, and there is, if anything, declining political will to raise fuel tax rates at either the federal or state levels.  Instead, we have turned more and more to local transportation sales taxes, bonds, public-private partnerships, tolls, fees, and special assessments in what is becoming an increasingly ad hoc – and inadequate – system of sidewalk, street, road, highway, and transit finance.

Given the unprecedented scale and the urgency of the infrastructure funding crisis, particularly in transportation, the 2012 UCLA Lake Arrowhead Transportation – Land Use – Environment Symposium addressed the following questions:

  • How are our systems of sidewalk, street, road, highway, and transit finance changing before our very eyes?
  • How might the federal and state roles change further in the coming decade?  How are the enormous pressures on local government finance affecting local transportation investment choices?
  • What new sources of revenues have been picking up the slack, where (levels of governments and transportation sectors) are the looming shortfalls the greatest?
  • What are the most promising options and strategies for addressing public finance shortfalls in transportation at different levels of government – in the near-term and in the long-term?
  • What are the pros and cons of various options and strategies, and which are most suited to meeting our future needs?  How do we make trade-offs between these options, considering issues such as efficiency and equity, growth and sustainability, and changing travel behaviors?
  • How do voters view transportation finance alternatives, and how can these views help shape politically effective finance strategies and programs?  What innovative strategies and tactics are on the horizon for paying for our transportation systems vis-à-vis building consensus in an era of political impasse?
  • When do environmental and behavioral programs become revenue sources and vice versa?
  • How much should the public sector invest in sidewalk, street, road, highway, and transit?  What do we really know about the long-term costs of under- or over-investment?

1:00pm  Registration, Check-in and Refreshments
1:30-2:00pm  Welcome and Symposium Overview

  • Allison Yoh, UCLA
  • Brian Taylor, UCLA
2:00-3:30pmPaying for Transportation and Relatied Infrastructure: Where We Have Come From, and Where We Are Headed

This panel will set the stage for the symposium by evaluating the evolution of federal, state, and local transportation finance. Panelists will discuss how the relative contributions of taxation versus tolls/fees have changed over time, as well as the shifting roles of various levels of government in transportation finance.


Moderator: Allison YohPaying For Our Transportation Systems: Current Trends in Revenues and Assessing Our Needs (PDF)

– Martin Wachs, Professor Emeritus, UCLA and Senior Principal Researcher, RAND Corporation

What Does MAP-21 Mean For The Next Two Years, and Beyond? (PDF)

– Susan Binder, Senior Transportation Consultant, Cambridge Systematics

Federal Contraction and What It Means for Transportation in State, Regional, and Local Governments (PDF)

– Hasan Ikhrata, Executive Director, S. California Association of Governments

Discussion time will be provided.

4:00-5:30pmStrengthening the Linkages Between Finance and Green Policies

Panelists will provide an update on the challenges and opportunities they face in implementing and funding a wide array of environmental programs and policies. The finance costs and benefits of implementing Sustainable Communities Strategies (SCS), mandated by SB 375, the landmark legislation in 2009 that integrates land use and transportation, will receive particular attention. Speakers will explore how to pay for SCS programs and projects, and what is necessary for implementation.


Moderator: Robert Freeman, Environmental Manager, Los Angeles World AirportsCap and Trade: Lessons for California from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (PDF)

– Kristin Eberhard, Legal Director of Western Energy and Climate Projects, Natural Resources Defense Council

Creating Sustainable Communities in the Gateway Cities: Identifying Strategies…And the Dollars to Pay For Them (PDF)

– Nancy Pfeffer, Director of Regional Planning, Gateway Cities Council of Governments

An Update on Planning for Sustainable Communities Strategies in the San Diego Region: Opportunities and Challenges (PDF)

– Charles Stoll, Director of Land Use and Transportation Planning, San Diego Association of Governments


Discussion time will be provided.




Check-in and ReceptionDinner
8:00-9:30pmHow Will it Play in Peoria? (And Pasadena and Petluma and Porterville?): What Do Voters Want and For What Are They Willing to Pay?

Legislatures increasingly loathe raising taxes or fees of any sort, so transportatio nsystem funding is increasingly decided on a project-by-project basis by state and local voters. Given this, this session explores how voters view the transportaiton system and its finance, asking: What kinds of programs nad projects are voters likely to support and which are they likely to oppose? This session explores patterns of voter behavior, projected changes in voter demographics, and ideas on structuring transportation finance based on voter preferences regarding transportation, land use, and the environment.


Moderator: Jacki Bacharach, Executive Director, South Bay Cities Council of GovernmentsThe Fourth E, Efficacy: What do Voters Want and For What are They Willing to Pay? (PDF)

– David Metz, Partner & Principal, Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates

Understanding Attitudes Toward “Green” Transportation Taxes and Fees in California (PDF)

– Asha Weinstein Agrawal, Director, Mineta Transportation Institute’s National Transportation Finance Center; Chair and Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, San Jose State University


Discussion time will be provided.

9:30-11:00pm Informal Reception

7:45-8:30am  Breakfast 
8:30-10:00amPutting Innovative Transportation Pricing Into Practice: New Techniques, New Technologies, New Approaches

Charging users of the transportation system for all of the costs they impose on that system and society-at-large has been for decades the economist’s panacea for all that ails the transportation system. This session explores the realistic prospects for using pricing to both produce steady revenue and increase transportation system efficiency.

Moderator: Norma Ortega, Deputy Director of Finance/Chief Financial Officer, California Department of TransportationEmerging Strategies for Increasing User Acceptance and Reducing System Cost for Mileage-Based User Fees (PDF)

– Paul Sorensen, Associate Director, Transportation, Space, and Technology Program, RAND Corporation

Proposals to Expand (and Contract) the Use of Transportation Tolls and Fees to Fund Transportation in California’s Regions (PDF)

– Stephanie Wiggins, Executive Officer – Congestion Reduction Initiative, Los Angeles Country Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Results from Pilot Programs to “Right Price” Curb Parking in California (PDF)

– Donald Shoup, Professor of Urban Planning, UCLA


Discussion time will be provided.


10:30am-12:00pmMoving Our Economy: New Directions in Funding Goods Movement Projects

The dramatic growth in goods movement has slowed during the Great Recession, but all signs point to increases in the movement of goods by land, sea, and air in the coming years. This session examines recent efforts to find new sources of revenue to fund needed increases in capacity for goods movement whether it is by roads, rails, or air – and sea-ports. Panelists will examine trends in goods movement, goods movement capacity plans and needs, and innovative efforts to find revenues to fund needed improvements.


Moderator: Jolene Hayes, Transportation Development Manager, Port of Long BeachMoving Goods and Passengers by Air: Efforts to Fund Improvements At Our Nation’s Airports (PDF)

– David Z. Plavin, President, dzpConsult, Inc.

Plans and Proposals to Fund Goods Movement Projects at Seaports and Reduce Environmental Impacts in the Process (PDF)

– Gill Hicks, Director of Southern California Operations, Cambridge Systematics Inc.

Reducing Both Delays and Emissions: What Goods Movers Want From Government – and For What Are They Willing to Pay? (PDF)

 Matt Schrap, President, California Fleet Solutions


Discussion time will be provided.

1:30-3:00pmMoving Beyond Ribbon-Cutting: Sustainable Funding for Sustainable Transit Systems

Shifting regional priorities, federal funding, and voter approval of county-level transportation sales taxes have combined to dramaticlly increase transit capital investment across the U.S. and in California over the past two decades. This session examines trends in transit capital, operating, and maintenance revenues and expenditures, with a focus on states and regions that have been most successful in securing operating support for public transit.


Moderator: Pam O’Connor, Member, Board of Directors, Los Angeles Country Metropolitan Transportation AuthorityTrends in Operating, Maintenance, and Capital Funding for Public Transit Systems in California (PDF)

– Sharon Greene, Principal, Sharon Green & Associates

Making Public Transport Financially Sustainable: Lessons from Germany (PDF)

– John Pucher, Professor of Urban Planning and Policy Development, Research Associate, Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center, Rutgers University

Building Support for Transit: A Case Study of Measure R (PDF)

– Denny Zane, Executive Director, Move LA


Dicussion time will be provided.


8:00-9:30pmFinancing High-Speed Rail

This session will examine current plans to pay for and implement California high-speed rail (HSR), and ask: What are current projections on cost, and how reliable are the forecasts? What is the appropriate mix of public and private partnership? In order for HSR to pencil out, what modifications are needed – on both the revenue and cost sides of the ledger – and given our current constraints both political and fiscal, what are our opportunities and challenges?

Moderator: Martin Wachs, Professor Emeritus, UCLA; Senior Principal Researcher, RANDPanel:

John Chalker, California High-Speed Rail Peer Review Group (PDF)

Andrew Mack, Chief Operating Officer, XpressWest

Kurt Ramey, Partner, KPMG (PDF)

8:30-10:10amLand Use and Local Governments

With increasing demands on general funds to pay for a broad spectrum of public services and facilities, how are these enormous pressures on local government finance affecting local transportation and investment choices?How are cities trading off transportation expenditures with other responsibilities such as police and fire services or schools? What are implications for higher density development, including infill development, on land values and transportation systems?


Moderator: Fran Inman, Senior Vice President, Corporate Development, Majestic RealtyThe Fiscalization of Land Use: Where Do We Stand Nearly 35 Years After Proposition 13? (PDF)

– Michael Manville, Assistant Professor of City and Regional Planning, Cornell University

The Demise of Redevelopment in California: Implications for Development, Affordable Housing, and Transportation (PDF)

– William Fulton, Vice President for Policy and Programs, Smart Growth America

In Search of Sustainable and Stable Local and State Fiscal Relations in California (PDF)

– Dean Misczynski, Adjunct Policy Fellow, Public Policy Institute of California


Discussion time will be provided.

10:30-12:00pmDollars and Sense: A Roundtable on the Importance of Effectively Communicating public Finance Issues to Public Officials (and Voters)

In this session, a moderated panel of senior public officials will discuss lessons learned and challenges in communicating public finance issues to (other) public officials and voters. How do we build consensus on the role of government? How do we build public support and momentum for change through communications and other strategies?

Moderator: Brian Taylor, Professor of Urban Planning; Director, Lewis Center for Regional and Policy Studies; Director, Institute of Transportation Studies, UCLA Luskin School of Public AffairsPanel:

Will Kempton, CEO, Orange Country Transportation Authority (PDF)

Susan Binder, Senior Transportation Consultant, Cambridge Systematics


Discussion time will be provided.