Thursday, August 21, 2008

Top Ten Lists

Over the last two decades of my career, I was asked on a number of occasions to compose top ten lists.

Below are some of them (in neither chronological nor aesthetic order). I thought about redacting names but didn't see any reason to do so except in a few cases.

A. Top Ten Things Dee Spann Did Not Get to Accomplish During His FHWA Career ( circa 2002)

B. Ten Top ideas for innovative financing (circa 1991)

C. Tony Solury’s Top Ten “To Do” Items While Acting AA for HEP (circa 2006)

D. Top Ten - Good Things About Tollways (circa 1998)

E. Top Ten Reasons to Designate the NHS (circa 1995)

F. Ten Favorite Numbers of Tom weeks (circa 1997)

G. Ten Top Names for Merged HEP-10 and HEP-50 (circa 1995)

H. Ten Top Good Things About New DOT Building (circa 2007)

I. Top Ten Reasons Why We Chose to Have the Picnic at East Potomac Park instead of a new venue (circa 2002)

Top Ten Things Dee Spann did not get to Accomplish During his FHWA Career

10. Use the automated Per DiemAzing Travel Management System (PDTMS) that conveniently and easily integrates employee specified travel destination, purpose, lodging, meals and other costs pursuant to the Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) and the Department of Transportation Travel Guiding Principles (DTRP)

9. Concur on a final Environmental regulation responsive to the 1991 ISTEA.

8. Sign a letter imposing federal funding sanctions on Arkansas for maintenance deficiencies (per title 23 U.S.C. 116), failure to allow 20 kip trucks on the interstate and other designated highways (127), failure to control outdoor advertising (131), substantial noncompliance with provisions of the Surface Transportation Program (STP) language (133), non certification of a Transportation Management Area (TMA) or allowing significant SOV increase in a non attainment area (134), deficiencies in control of junkyards (136), excess vehicle size and weight violations or failure to document tax payment of heavy vehicles (141), inadequate use of seat belts laws (153), inadequate laws on open containers (154) non adoption of a 21-year drinking age (158), inadequate laws for drivers license suspension for drug use (159), inadequate laws for drivers license suspension for intoxicated minors (161), failure to enforce penalties for repeat offenders who drive while intoxicated (164) or non Title 23 provisions relating to AQ Conformity or Commercial Driver’s Licenses.

7. Get to work at one of the 4 FHWA Resource Centers or at one of the 4 locations of the 1 Resource Center.

6. Advise the task force on Federal/State/Local coordination for the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

5. Work in new tastefully furnished DOT HQ ‘campus’ conveniently located on eleven prime acres near the beautiful 600 block of ‘N’ [I got the street name wrong somehow] Street southeast [we actually moved to near M Street and it is a pretty nice building].

4. Achieve full proficiency in the Legislative Implementation Plan Tracking System (LIPS), the Biostat system, the Learning and Development System (LADS), the Shared Unit Performance Plan System (SUPPS), the Fiscal Management Information System (FMIS), the Departmental Accounting and Financial Information System (DAFIS) and all the other easy to use easy to understand helpful and meaningful management systems.

3. Review a comprehensible illustrative ‘will be funded if.’ list as permitted under title 23 U.S.C. 135(f)(2)(E), find an exemplary STIP to use as a guide, review a model planning finding as required by (f)(4) or discover a well documented ‘consultative process’ as required by (e)(2) and (3) and (f)(1)(B) and (C).

2. Testify in front of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee concerning the report entitled, “LOCAL OFFICIALS PARTICIPATION IN TRANSPORTATION PLANNING AND PROGRAMMING” in response to section 1204(i) of TEA-21 and the reports accompanying H.R. 107-308 and H.R.107-350.

and Finally,

1. Even though he did get to participate in substantive, internally consistent and easily understood management reforms such as: MBO, Zero Based Budgeting, Workforce Utilization, Program Delivery, Back-to-Basics, TQM, Visioning, Reengineering, Strategic Planning, Zero Defect Delivery, Empowerment, Team building, Reinvention, Right Sizing, Restructuring, the Quality Journey, Performance Planning and Capacity Building; he did not get to see the Catch Ball World Series.


10 best Innovative Highway Finance Ideas

10. Truckers organize bake sales for extra climbing lanes

9. Elvis to adopt a highway

8. Sell posters of Charo as 'Miss Special District'

7. Get Madonna look alike to do a 'Justify My Highway Financing' video and sell to MTV

6. Open up a "Love and Highway Financing" phone line 1-900-IHF-LOVE with Jessica Hahn as hostess

5. Zamphir and his Pan Flute to play at highway Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, Sell cassette for $4.95 ($5.95 for CD) and throw in ginsu knife with 100 year warrenty

4. Have Jerry Lewis hold telethon for NHS

3. Sell autographed pictures of famous highway financing celebrities

2. Open amusement park like Disney World with sub themes like 'Maintenance Vehicle Land', 'Magic PCC Slump Test', 'Inspect your own Culvert'

1. Auction off dream date with Secretary Skinner.


Tony Solury’s Top Ten “To Do” Items While Acting AA for HEP

10. Develop an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking for designating an employee of the State transportation agencies to dress up like a chicken and cluck if they apply for more than one time extension of a STIP.

9. Revise the planning regulations to require smiley faces on STIPs, TIPs and Plans

8. Think up a new paradigm shifting the name for the “Office of Planning, Environment and Realty” to the more proactive “Office of Planning, Shock, and Awe”.

7. Establish a color coding system for responding to OST requests: GREEN - do it today 1 hour before you receive the request; BLUE - do it 1 hour + 1 day before you receive the request; YELLOW - do it 2 hours + 2 days before you receive the request; ORANGE - do it 3 hours + 3 days before you receive the request; RED – forget it, you have been fired for not responding to an unanticipated, unknown request before you received it.

6. Think up way to put subliminal messages, in a disappearing font, in SAFETEA that say ‘raise gasoline taxes’ and dedicate the increase to FHWA salaries.

5. Amend the Highway Trust Fund legislation to dedicate the 1 cent gas tax for transit to be used for the annual HEP picnic and HEP/HIF ice cream social.

4. Amend Department of Energy legislation to dedicate the 2.5 cent tax on gasohol to TSP accounts of retirement eligible FHWA employees.

3. Award a contract to Volpe to make a video of “EPA Bloopers and Blunders”, if there is enough time and money to complete such an epic.

2. Develop a reauthorization so full of complicated language with little impact that it will be ignored and give special interests a chance to put their own language together; oh wait, its been done.


1. Include a provision in the DOT appropriation bill specifying “that, notwithstanding any other provision of any Federal, State, local or Tribal law or regulation, appropriated funds are eligible for an environmental enhancement, based on the visage of a current a HEP Program Coordinator, to replace the “Old Man on the Mountain” in New Hampshire and that such replacement shall be designated as a historic landmark under section 106.


Top Ten - Good Things About Tollways

10. Tolltakers Christmas Carol album better that Osmond Family album

9. Friendly place to get spend those annoying handfuls of pennies

8. Calling people ‘ferry lover’ is not an insult

7. Always plenty of free mustard packages at food courts

6. Erotic sounding phrases such as “Toll Tunnel” or “Pre plaza Rumble strip”

5. More opportunities to name toll plazas and interchanges after beloved elected officials

4. Can scare preschoolers who are unafraid of the bogeyman or under-the-bed ghosts by telling them the ‘electronic toll police’ will cancel their web access if they are bad.

3. Allows States to shift $ around so they can make the financial sheet say anything they want it to.

2. Helps State Dept by allowing them to get used dictators to quit and be placed on tollway authority commissions.

And #1.

1. Paying a toll is better than paying a troll.



10. It's NHSerrrrrrrrific.

9. Design-your-own NHS-intermodal-facility connectors will make really cool module at LEGO-LAND.

8. More fiber, fewer calories than projects authorized by Sections 1103 through 1108 of P.L. 102-240 [aka the ISTEA].

7. Siskel and Ebert both gave the NHS two thumbs up.

6. NHS spelled backwards is SHN which is almost STPP.

5. Madonna made out on 151,000 of the 159,000 miles.

4. Promotes efficient verification of ELVIS sightings.

3. IVHS on NHS is precondition for membership in United Federation of Planets.

2. U.S. falling dangerously behind global trade rivals in designating acronyms.

1. Will definitely impress Jody Foster.


Ten Favorite Numbers of Tom Weeks

99 percent of ‘major’ intermodal amtrak stations with low ridership

133 # of ‘major” air passenger terminals w low ridership

129,975 $ returned to the US Treasury by the 1997 Consolidated Rescission Act from $2 million in funds appropriated by the 1991 DOT Appropriations Act to conduct the study authorized by section 1086 of the 1991 ISTEA

7863 Last 4 digits of phone number of [name of Senate Staffer redacted] (Senate E& PW)

139/332/1105 Sections of title 23 U.S.C., the NHS Act and ISTEA, each section having subsections which created Twilight zone additions to the Dwight D. Eisenhower Interstate and Defense Highway System.

5000 and 0 Number of dollars/day requested by [name removed] as subcontractor to the 1996 WGA cooperative agreement and the number of dollars/day he settled for (and was worth).

17,646 and 3665 # miles of NHS originally requested by [name of State redacted] in 1989 and # miles in ‘illustrative’ NHS submitted by FHWA in 1990

0.68 Benefit/cost ratio for coast to coast Interstate quality Transamerica Transportation Corridor (Net Present Value of Maglev alternative was negative $47 billion)

80 Number of hours in a pay period although with flex time and flex place no one can ever be sure which hours they are


24 plus 1 Number of subcontracted case studies and prime contractor needed to spend the $1,000,000 line item in the 1991 DOT Appropriations Act to study why Americans don’t bicycle.


Top 10 Names for Merged HEP-10 and HEP-50

10. Ultraplanning Division

9. Statewide debris and Intermodal stuff Division.

8. The Rolling Stones, Eagles and Grateful Dead Division.

7. Das Stat und Modalgruppenschadt (as in, "Guttenachmitag, Das Stat und Modalgruppenschadt, Herr Marley sprecken").

6. Planning other than Metropolitan Division

5. Less contaminated with air quality conformity determinations than the Other Planning Division.

4. Inter Stodal Planning Division

3. Swatch and Intrepid Planning Division

2. Interfunctional Statemode Planning Division


1. The Divisions Formerly known as the Statewide Planning Division and the Intermodal Planning Division


Top Ten Good Things About the New DOT Buiding

10. Unlike at the Nassif Building, the IT conduits were actually designed for IT hardware.

9. The contemporary multistory atrium will be the perfect place for cheerleader-led pep rallies celebrating FHWA achievements (2-4-6-8 who do we appreciate – Guidance for 23 CFR 470 in appendix A).

8. In the new building the restrooms will be ventilated to the outside.

7. Roach hotels and rodent traps will be pre deployed in crawl space, utility space, and conduits.

6. Post move deployment of decorations will include elements of representational, cubist and proto-deconstructionist art forms thus encouraging visual participation of many meta-paradigms of imagination.

5. Dishwashing machines will make for a much cleaner government.

4. Elimination of rogue houseplants will reduce incidences of poison ivy and bubonic plague.

3. Work space lighting, now provided almost exclusively by Sylvania Supersaver fluorescent lamps, will, in the new building, be provided mostly by T8 fluorescent lamps, which will provide a spectrum closer to natural light and be more energy efficient and supplemented by other devices, including compact fluorescents, sodium halide lamps and light emitting diodes.

2. We will keep our current zip code which, like only a few dozen other zip codes in the entire country, is divisible by both the prime numbers 29 and 71.

1. Elevator availability, currently averaging about 35% in the Nassif building will at least initially, double to well over 70%.


Top Ten Reasons Why We Chose to Have the Picnic at East Potomac Park instead of a new venue

10. No one is sure how to set up volleyball net anywhere else and Seat Management contract doesn’t support volleysetquick00c for Windows.98.

9. Thought we had procured back lawn at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave but someone set up a T-ball field.

8. Already filed FEIS back in fall 2000; too little time to do studies required for supplemental FEIS as per 23 CFR 771.130(d).

7. Carlos’s retirement was conditioned on future picnics being at East Potomac Park as a tribute to his picnic organizing legacy.

6. Choice of East Potomac Park consistent with FHWA Performance plan of 19 December 2000 (Chapter 4 Productivity) since it will not add to highway related delays at NHS border crossings.

5. Appropriate place to solemnly observe the 45th anniversary of the date Secretary of Commerce Sinclair Weeks, with BPR Commissioner Robert Swain looking on, signed the apportionment document for $2.55 billion authorized by the 1956 Federal-Aid Highway Act..

4. Personnel staffing National 511 response number familiar with directions to East Potomac Park..

3. Consistent with provision of HR 2299 DOT Appropriations Act for FY 2002 which would modify Title 49 U.S.C. Chapter 303 to derive funds for administration of the National Driver Register from the Highway Trust Fund so that HEP personnel can serve as drivers of carpools that day.

2. Unused charcoal from last year stored in the East Potomac Park charcoal infrastructure bank.


1. East Potomac Park is presumptive site for tryouts for CBS’s soon-to-be-a-hit reality sequel, Survivor 4 - outdoor coping skills include dealing with lack of nudity and extreme horseshoe and bocci injuries).

1 comment:

Martin Weiss said...

From: Gye, Aung
Sent: Thursday, August 28, 2008 2:56 PM
To: Weiss, Martin Clark, Frank
Subject: Top 12 Reason to Retire

Top 12 reasons to Retire for Marty and Frank

12. To reduce congestion

11. To watch re-runs of Star Trek on High Definition and stereo-phonic TV

10. They were reprimanded for Speeding in the “The Fast Lane Blog”

9. To start new careers as Oil Explorers in the Gulf of Mexico

8. No free baseball tickets to supplement that whopping transit subsidy

7. Tired of walking down the stairs due to false fire alarms

6. it’s nice to go out with a Tan

5. There’s no proof that the this building is Green

4. Whenever Marty is thinking about the New Surface Transportation Economic Model, the atrium glass shatters

3. The Interstate system is functioning as Dwight D. Eisenhower has envisioned

2. To meet up with Elvis at his hiding place somewhere in the desert

1. They’d like to add one more “R” to the re-authorization proposal Refocus Reform & Renew, that’s Retire