The New England governors have voted and adopted a resolution to further coordinate and implement regional transportation planning across the six states. The formal resolution signed in Washington, DC during a meeting of the New England Governors' Conference calls for the formation of the Regional Transportation Coordinating Council to work with the FAA to study and increase regional airport use. In addition, the governors resolved to "petition the US Department of Transportation to work with the Congressional delegation to declare New England a unique region in order to allow regulatory flexibility in applying federal transportation policy."
The Regional Transportation Coordinating Council will meet quarterly and consist of two members appointed by each governor. The council will invite federal transportation agencies to participate in the funding and planning of regional initiatives aimed at building a stronger infrastructure throughout New England. Also, the council will:
embark on a next phase study with the FAA to increase domestic and international air service at the regional airports, increase charter service and cargo activity at the regional airports, increase HOV/ground transportation and rail alternatives to service the regional airports, and develop a regional air service action plan;
encourage intermodal solutions by investing in systems for remote check-in and luggage transfers between train, bus, and air transport;
work with the travel industry to tie the regional airports into the reservation system of travel agents and Internet sites;
establish the New England Intermodal Freight Alliance to analyze key freight corridors;
and study opportunities to improve the regional rail system and integrate the states' transit and turnpike systems.
The resolution builds on the success of New England's regional planning. In Massachusetts, the state has erected signs directing travelers to regional airports in New Hampshire and Rhode Island and is working on widening Route 3 to Manchester Airport and on direct rail access to T.F. Green Airport in Providence. In addition, the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) is working with all of the region's airports to develop and coordinate a growth strategy that reduces the burden on Logan International Airport. Due to increased use of regional airports last year, passenger growth at Logan was limited to 1.3% in 2000.
The region's airports recently launched the "Fly New England" campaign as part of a continuing effort to increase awareness of alternatives to Logan. This year, Massport has committed $500,000 to advertising regional airports.