Last week the House of Representatives passed its initial version of a multiyear transportation bill. This bill has the potential to make streets safer across the country, help communities build more homes and offices near transit, and give more control of transportation investments to local communities. In order for this to happen, though, the House’s version of the bill needs to improve considerably.
Representatives agree: they’ve filed more than 200 amendments to the current version of the bill. Today the Rules Committee will decide which ones to allow to the floor. And then later this week, the full House will vote on all the amendments and create their final version of the bill.
Several amendments under consideration would improve how the bill supports walkable communities served by transit, including:
- Amendment #18 from Representative Lipinski of Illinois, which would make transit-oriented development (TOD) eligible for RRIF funding.
- Amendment #21 from Representative DeSaulnier of California, which would improve planning and project selection performance measures and transparency.
- Amendment #37, also from Representative Lipinski, which expresses the Sense of Congress that TOD is an eligible activity under the RRIF program.
- Amendment #47 from Representative Schakowsky of Illinois that would require a study and rule on safety standards or performance measures to improve pedestrian safety.
- Amendment #66 from Representative Blumenauer of Oregon, which would create a new national priority program for non-motorized safety and adjust the funding levels from the National Priority Safety Program’s existing levels.
- Amendment #75 from Representative Ellison of Minnesota, Grijalva of Arizona, Waters of California, and Huffman of California, which would establish accessibility performance measures.
- Amendment #87 from Representative Swalwell of California, which would expand Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement and Federal Transit Administration project eligibilities to innovative shared mobility options like bike share, car share, and transportation network companies, among others.
- Amendment #101 from Representatives Edwards of Maryland and Comstock of Virginia, which would make TOD projects eligible for TIFIA loans.
- And finally amendment #131 from Representatives Davis of Illinois and Titus of Nevada, which would provide more flexible funds, send more money directly to local communities, and help smaller communities with fewer than 200,000 people.
Together, these amendments would make smart growth strategies a built-in option for communities making transportation decisions. They would create new ways of financing transit-oriented development, grant local governments more control over how funding gets spent, and help make streets safer for everyone—no matter their age, ability, or how they travel.
Get the inside scoop on what’s happening in the House
Deliberations in the House are moving quickly this week, and several key votes are scheduled in the coming days.
Join Smart Growth America and our programs LOCUS, the National Complete Streets Coalition, Local Leaders Council and Transportation for America for a policy call tomorrow, Wednesday, November 4, 2015 at 12:00 PM EST to discuss what’s happening in the legislative process and what advocates for walkable communities and public transit need to know, as well as to answer your questions about this version of the bill. Register to join the conversation tomorrow >>