Right now there is an ambitious proposal to rewrite the rules for transportation spending in America currently moving in the U.S. House. We have been writing extensively about this new proposal and here’s where you can find the information you’re searching for…or perhaps didn’t even know you needed!
The Transportation & Infrastructure Committee (T&I) in the U.S. House released a draft proposal for long-term surface transportation policy today that would replace the existing FAST Act, which expires this year. The INVEST (Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation) in America Act takes a markedly different approach to transportation policy that would begin to put outcomes—instead of price tags—at the center of our decision making.
Yesterday the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation approved its six-year transportation bill, the Comprehensive Transportation and Consumer Protection Act of 2015 (S. 1732).
The bill includes dozens of transportation provisions, but we were watching three in particular: the Railroad Reform, Enhancement, and Efficiency Act (S. 1626) and the Safe Streets amendment, both of which we hoped to see included, and a proposal to narrow the scope of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s TIGER grants, which we hoped would be cut.
Later today the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation is scheduled to mark up the Comprehensive Transportation and Consumer Protection Act of 2015 (S. 1732), a proposed six-year transportation reauthorization. As we’ve mentioned here before, the federal transportation bill has huge implications for development across the country. Here’s what we’ll be looking for during today’s proceedings.
The current federal transportation bill will expire on July 31, 2015. In the coming weeks Congress will negotiate about dozens of programs and debate how to fund billions of dollars worth of projects. What will the current political landscape mean for local transportation projects, Complete Streets, and transit-oriented development?
Join Smart Growth America and Transportation for America for a special open conversation about what’s happening right now in transportation policy this Thursday, July 16, 2015 at 4:00 PM EDT.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Janet Kavinoky responds to an editorial in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal which criticized federal investments in public transportation. In a post on the Chamber’s Free Enterprise blog, Kavinoky comes out in defense of diverse transportation investments, and calls on Congress to pass a robust transportation bill “for the sake of near- and long-term job creation, stronger economic growth, and enhanced U.S. competitiveness.”
Let’s look on the bright side of life.
By all accounts, you would be hard-pressed today to find anyone who views congressional inaction positively. But with the House of Representatives’ transportation package languishing amid opposition from both Democrats and Republicans, members of Congress at least have added time to address the bill’s severe shortcomings.
Our country’s roads and bridges are in desperate need of repair, so crafting economically beneficial legislation with bipartisan support should be lawmakers’ top priority. Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica has already shown us what’s possible when business development and other interests meet, including language in the House bill that would spur development around transit stations and jumpstart real estate investment. With that kind of cooperative leadership as a model, the House would be wise to make the following revisions, showing voters that it’s the congressional branch with the capacity to get things done in an election year.
Last week, the House of Representatives introduced their surface transportation reauthorization bill. Their proposal, H.R. 7, the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act, threatens to derail federal funding for public transportation, and we’re still fighting to change their proposed bill. If you were one of the many supporters who spoke out against H.R. 7, thank you.
This week, the Senate has begun working on its version of the bill and we need your help to make it as strong as possible.
A bipartisan amendment to the Senate bill sponsored by Senator Cardin of Maryland and Senator Cochran of Mississippi would give local governments a larger say over a share of state transportation dollars. This change to the current bill would give local leaders a greater voice and more direct access to money for projects like main street revitalization.
As it’s currently written, the Senate bill would take the limited funds once dedicated to improving safety and conditions for people on foot and bike, and transfer them to state departments of transportation for expensive highway construction instead.
The Senate vote could happen as soon as this week, and this amendment is one of the most important that we’ll see. By setting money aside, the Cardin-Cochran amendment would ensure local communities can get the money they need for the projects they want.
If you think our transportation bill should give communities the resources they need to build Main Streets that are attractive to businesses, pedestrian friendly and safer for everyone using them, tell your Senator to sponsor this amendment.
Crossposted from Transportation for America.
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee released a draft of the transportation bill late Friday. The EPW committee’s portion of the bill covers what’s known as the “highway” title. (The Banking Committee is responsible for writing the “transit” title and the Commerce Committee covers rail and safety. Those sections of the bill have not been released yet.)
We’ve prepared a short few pages on what MAP-21 means for the federal transportation program. This top-line analysis is a bit on the wonky side, but hopefully it’ll be helpful if you’ve been trying to summarize the 600 pages of bill text.
One of the most visible changes MAP-21 makes is to restructure seven core highway programs and 13+ formula programs into just five core highway programs. This graphic below illustrates those changes. Read on for the full summary, which you can also download here. (PDF)
City, Others to Work on Transit-Hub Development
Wall Street Journal, 4/15/11
New York City will work with several other local governments to revitalize areas around underdeveloped transit hubs, officials announced Thursday. The plans include adding housing and commercial space along commuter rail lines to encourage more public transportation use and to curtail sprawl. The city will join Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties and four cities in Connecticut in the bi-state collaboration.
Highway Funding Is at Risk
Wall Street Journal, 4/14/11
Congress may have to consider a smaller highway-funding bill than initially planned because of a steep drop in revenue from the federal gasoline tax, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus said Thursday. The Montana Democrat, speaking at a hearing on highway funding, said lawmakers may have to draft a funding bill covering two years instead of six, which effectively would freeze highway-construction funding at existing levels or lead to a decline.
Decision to move EPA offices from KCK to Lenexa seems flawed
Kansas City Star, 4/11/11
When it comes to thinking green, the federal government may be missing the forest for the trees — at least concerning the relocation of the Environmental Protection Agency from downtown Kansas City, Kan., to suburban Lenexa.
Campaign aims to get Southwest Florida biking, carpooling and using public transportation
The News-Press (Fla.), 4/13/11
In an effort to get more people biking, carpooling and using public transportation, Fort Myers, Lee County and the Florida Department of Transportation are launching a campaign that starts today, and spans through Earth Week, ending April 23. The “Taking it to the Streets” campaign encourages employers, community leaders, students, teams and individuals to participate in activities such as organizing or joining a bike club, carpooling to work, organizing transportation competitions and more.