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February 07, 2011
Brattle Principal Kevin Neels Joins Other Transportation Experts to Release a Congressionally Mandated Report on the Effects of Implementing BRAC 2005
Kevin Neels, a principal in Brattle’s Washington, DC office, was one of a number of transportation experts that produced a congressionally mandated report issued today by the National Research Council's Transportation Research Board that analyzes the effects of implementing the Defense Base Closure and Realignment (BRAC) law of 2005. The report finds that personnel relocations associated with the 2005 BRAC round will result in significant impacts on transportation infrastructure and congestion problems in many major metropolitan areas and that the transportation improvements necessary to manage the extra traffic demand cannot be fully implemented by the September 2011 deadline for realignment. BRAC is the process that the U.S. Department of Defense has previously used to reorganize its base structure to more efficiently and effectively support military forces and facilitate operational readiness. Implementing BRAC 2005 will concentrate tens of thousands of additional personnel at or near 18 domestic military bases, several of which are located in major metropolitan areas with already congested transportation infrastructure. To address the specific implications of BRAC 2005, the authors developed case studies to examine traffic impacts around six bases where personnel shifts are likely to occur faster than infrastructure can be improved. Based on the case study findings, the report offers recommendations for the near, short, and long term to mitigate the effects.
  • Near Term: Allocate congressional stimulus funds to address the most problematic transportation problems. If projects are initiated immediately, the severity of congestion impacts would be reduced within three years.
  • Short and Long Term: Create new funding streams for transportation infrastructure, with the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) accepting more financial responsibility for transportation problems related to military base growth. Communities that benefit economically from the presence of military bases should also help pay for transportation improvements.
  • Long Term: Substantially improve the process for communicating and planning with affected communities through increased coordination between the DOD and state and local officials.
This report was commissioned by the U.S. Department of Defense. The committee that produced the report was selected by the Transportation Research Board, and arm of the National Academies. The U.S. Congress and the Executive Branch are currently considering the recommendations of the report. To download the report, please visit the National Academies website.