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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Regionalism in Transportation and Air Quality: History, Interpretation, and Insights for Regional Governance


Transportation and air quality are areas of public policy in which there is a tradition of thinking, planning, and acting regionally, and we may well ask whether this tradition offers any lessons for public policy makers that go beyond the realms of transportation and air quality. While it is clear that the locus of most transportation and air quality policy debates is and probably should be at the regional level, it is not at all clear that regionalism in transportation and air quality has resulted in programs that have been so successful as to provide models for other sectors of public policy making. In this paper we review the evolution of regionalism in transportation and air quality policy making, and then discuss some of the strengths, weaknesses and unresolved issues with respect to the regional basis of policy making in these sectors. We close with some observations on the extent to which our impressions may be generalizable to other sectors.

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