Over 160 elected officials and organizations urge Congress to prioritize maintenance, safety over speed, and access to jobs and services in the next long-term transportation law
WASHINGTON, DC: With 169 signatures from elected officials and organizations across 39 states, Transportation for America on Thursday sent a letter to Congress urging lawmakers to set a vision in the next transportation reauthorization, including holding the program accountable for maintaining our transportation system, building safer streets, and connecting people to jobs and services by providing reliable transportation choices.
“Updating long-term transportation policy is an opportunity to ensure that our economy recovers strongly and evenly,” said Beth Osborne, director of Transportation for America. “Our 1950s approach to transportation has led to increases in congestion, emissions, and pedestrian fatalities, and decreases in access to economic opportunity for those without access to a reliable car. It’s long past time for Congress to connect federal policy to the outcomes Americans want from their transportation system: getting where they need to go affordably, conveniently, and safely, on infrastructure that is well-maintained.”
The current surface transportation law, the FAST Act, was extended by Congress and President Trump for one additional year and is now set to expire in September 2020. In July 2020, the House of Representatives passed the INVEST Act, a reauthorization proposal supported by Transportation for America that starts the work of updating our broken federal transportation policy.
The letter also highlights how COVID-19 has exposed and exacerbated the crisis plaguing our transportation system. Pedestrian fatalities have increased during the pandemic despite fewer cars on the road—a result of streets designed to move vehicles as fast as possible in all contexts without considering the needs of people walking, biking or using mobility-assistive devices. Over 2.8 million essential workers have been relying on transit since the pandemic’s start, but a legacy of insufficient federal funding is hindering transit agencies’ ability to provide the service riders need. It is critical that Congress uses the upcoming reauthorization as an opportunity to reverse these harmful trends and strengthen our economic recovery with smart, impactful policy.
You can read the full letter and the list of 169 signatories here.