Last week, 30 members of Congress joined Reps. Jesús G. “Chuy” García (IL-4), Ayanna Pressley (MA-7), and Hakeem Jeffries’ (NY-8) groundbreaking resolution supporting equal funding for public transportation and highways. This marks the first time that members of Congress have joined together to end the arbitrary rule dedicating 80 percent of transportation funding to highways and just 20 percent to transit.
One of public transit’s biggest hurdles to providing convenient, affordable, and rapid service and maintaining its aging infrastructure is the fact that highways have been receiving the lion’s share of all federal transportation funding—at least 80 percent since 1982. This is all due to an arbitrary policy started in 1982 that limits transit to only 20 percent of these funds.
Today, three members of Congress took the first stab at ending this policy. With 30 cosponsors, Reps. García, Pressley, and Jeffires introduced a resolution to the House floor that supports funding transit and highways equally in the next long-term surface transportation authorization.
This is truly groundbreaking! The “80/20 split” has been the status quo for almost four decades, and in that time has never been challenged with so much support. This resolution is a real testament to the changing attitudes towards transportation policy, and a direct result of the powerful advocacy led by Representatives García and Pressley.
The resolution is also endorsed by 30 organizations. You can read the full list of cosponsors and organizations here.
This effort would not have happened without Reps. García, Pressley, and Jeffries, all three of whom are leaders in Congress on transportation policy. We’re lucky to have these powerful and passionate changemakers in Congress who understand the power of transportation to truly improve people’s lives.
In only two years, Rep. García from Chicago has made a bold impact on transportation lawmaking. García’s experience as a former urban planner led him to co-found the Future of Transportation Caucus with Reps. Pressley and Mark Takano and to push for status quo-breaking reforms in the House-passed INVEST Act, from a performance measure to ensure that transportation projects improve people’s access to jobs and services to a bipartisan fix-it-first policy for highway funding.
Despite not serving on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Rep. Pressley has made reforming transportation policy a key part of her advocacy and lawmaking because she has seen firsthand how instrumental transportation decisions are for determining basic issues of quality of life and access to opportunity in her district. She’s been a powerful advocate through her work on the Future of Transportation Caucus and her fight for at least $32 billion in emergency funding for transit, among other things. And as a member of Democratic leadership, Rep. Jeffries’ support for this resolution sends a powerful message. Thank you Representatives García, Pressley, Jeffries, and everyone who joined the resolution as a cosponsor.
We need your support: what you can do
We need to show strong support for this unprecedented effort to finally provide strong funding for public transportation! We can’t transform this resolution into policy and actually fund transit and highways equally in the next surface transportation authorization without strong support. Call your member of Congress and ask them to support the resolution.
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