As the primary source of funding for the vast majority of all transportation system development, federal and state transportation authorities and agencies set the standards and criteria by which systems and specific transportation projects are evaluated, approved, financed and implemented. The relationship of local and regional transportation authorities to federal and state agencies has become increasingly financial, as planning, design and system technology decisions and prioritization are left to regional transportation authorities.
By limiting their role in transportation development processes to evaluation of funding applications from regional and local transportation authorities, federal and state agencies leave the majority of planning criteria, cost-benefit and environmental considerations to regional transportation authorities. This standardized, self-limiting federal role in complex transportation planning and development processes defers virtually all incentives for innovation, efficiency and modernization to local and regional authorities, who, in turn, continue to reproduce similar rail solutions for virtually every transportation venue.
Federal transportation authorities should be encouraged to merge the objectives and performance criteria of national transportation policy with respective environmental objectives and economic development related to the impacts of transportation systems on local, as well as, regional and national settings and conditions. Inclusion of monorail system criteria and performance in transportation system comparative analysis and evaluation processes will provide valuable and realistic bases for determining the most effective, efficient and appropriate mode and technology for specific transportation projects, plans and environments.
Interface with local government, regional transportation authorities, monorail system builders and environmental regulatory agencies in the preliminary planning stages of proposed transportation plans can achieve critical strategic alignment and mutually supportive cooperation among the prime participants in transportation system development, from initial stages through completion. Should federal and state economic development priorities be focused on creation of new and modern American industries, the advanced and environmentally benign state of monorail technology would certainly warrant consideration of monorails in solving a wide range of transportation problems, as well as, creation of an environmentally superior industry.