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T4America statement in reaction to the Senate bill to reauthorize the federal transportation program

WASHINGTON, D.C. – James Corless, director of Transportation for America, issued this statement in response to the release of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee bill to reauthorize the federal transportation program:

“First, I want to thank Senator Boxer (D-CA) and Senator Vitter (R-LA) for recognizing that our communities desperately need the stable, dependable funding that a multi-year bill would provide.

The draft bill takes several important steps to address gaps or to build on some policies introduced in MAP-21. Specifically, we are pleased that it would provide aid to repair and replace locally owned bridges under the National Highway Performance Program, which were excluded in MAP-21. It also allows financing to support communities in creating economic development along transit lines. And it would increase the share of the small, but popular, Transportation Alternatives Program that is under local control, while creating a modest program to recognize innovative practices.

However, our alliance of local elected, business and civic leaders believes the proposed legislation stops well short of providing communities the access to resources they need to support economic success. Rather than make improvements on the margins, the federal program needs to recognize the importance of our cities, towns and suburbs and move control and accountability closer to the people who pay into the system. Allowing communities to compete for a larger share of the funding would incentivize innovation and reward smart decision-making and efficiency.

We recognize this legislation is a work in progress and that the Committee has taken steps to recognize some of the issues we have laid out. The draft bill should serve as a solid platform for further advancement as it progresses through the legislative process. Again, we appreciate the efforts of Senator Boxer and Senator Vitter to advance a long-term and stable transportation bill that builds on MAP-21, and we are committed to working with them toward that goal.”