President Ford has committed his administration to the development of a transportation system more directly responsive to the needs of the public -- one which will provide the Nation with the best transportation services at the lowest possible cost.
To accomplish this, he submitted to the Congress three major transportation proposals to reform transportation regulation. These proposals include the Aviation Act of 1975, the Railroad Revitalization Act of 1975, and the Motor Carrier Reform Act of 1975. The last is designed to:
The Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976, which President Ford signed this February, provides long-overdue regulatory reform, make it possible to reorganize the bankrupt Northeast and Midwest railroads, and authorizes necessary financial assistance for upgrading rail facilities. Specifically, this Act:
In signing this major piece of legislation, the first significant reform of transportation regulation by any Administration, the President stated:
"The actions set in motion by this legislation will make a significant contribution to our objectives of economic growth through private job creation, energy independence, and a strong private transportation system."
The Aviation Act of 1975, which Congress has not yet acted on, seeks to increase competition within the domestic airline industry by providing fare flexibility and greater freedom of entry to particular air markets throughout the U.S. It would also:
The President has taken other measures to revitalize the transportation system in the United States including:
-- AIR TRANSPORTATION --
One of President Ford's highest priorities for his administration is comprehensive reform of government regulation. And in hardly any other area than air transportation is the need more urgent.
"The airlines don't want their current situation with the CAB changed. They have gotten used to it, they've got a lot of lawyers who enjoy it; and the net result is, we are in the 'status quo' even though the circumstances have changed significantly."
April 2, 1976
Thus, among the legislative proposals that the President has submitted to the Congress is an Aviation Act, which if enacted would:
By increasing reliance on market forces and decreasing economic regulation, this bill should result in lower fares and increased service for the air-travel consumer.
In July 1976, the Congress passed the Airport and Airway Development Act, originally proposed by President Ford. This Act:
President Ford's Administration has also endorsed a seven-point program that will help U.S. airlines operating to other countries to compete better with the heavily subsidized airlines of other nations.
-- THE "CONCORDE" SST --
Last year the President responded to the controversial question of whether the "Concorde" should be permitted to operate in the U.S. by ordering a thorough investigation and study. In February 1976, the Secretary of Transportation, William Coleman, completed extensive hearings and authorized a 16-month trial of "Concorde" operations at New York and Washington, D.C., Airports.
"Through these operations . . . we can get specific technical information . . . on . . . noise or any interference with the environment . . . and at the end of that 16-month trial period there will be an evaluation made by the Secretary of Transportation . . . But the only way you can find out is to actually undertake them on a limited basis for a limited period of time, and I fully support Secretary Coleman's decision."
April 23, 1976
-- MASS TRANSPORTATION --
"There is a legitimate and major role to be played by the Federal Government in assisting urban mass transit systems. But I emphasize here that the role must be carried out in complete and total partnership with States and localities."
September 9, 1976
Since the first few weeks of President Ford's administration, he has reiterated his concern that the revitalization of our cities be conducted according to local and regional plans, with Federal facilitation rather than Federal direction. The President's policy for mass transportation emphasizes the building of an attractive alternative to private vehicles.
The President's concern is formalized in the Statement of National Transportation policy issued in Septmeber [September] 1975:
" Federal policy for urban transportation should at once respond to locally determined transportation goals and serve such national objectives as the enhancement of our cities as vital commercial and cultural centers, control of air pollution, conservation of energy, access to transportation for all citizens and particularly the disadvantaged, facilitation of full employment and more rational use of land."
In fufilling [fulfilling] his policy, the President, on November 26, 1974 signed the National Mass Transportation Assistance Act of 1974 which provides a six-year, $11.8 billion program of financing and planning assistance. The President was directly involved in the development of the Act.
He also signed into law the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1976. The Act authorizes the use of highway funds for a wider range of transportation needs, permitting individual states much greater flexibility in meeting their individual needs.
The President was particularly pleased to see the implementation, under the Department of Transportation, of a special new program for improving public transportation in America's rural areas. Five hundred million dollars has been authorized for this program over the next four years.
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