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Letter urges lawmakers to fully fund transportation this year and rethink the federal transportation program

WASHINGTON, DC – With over 200 signatures from elected officials and organizations,
Transportation for America today sent a letter to Congress calling for Members to use fiscal year
2020 appropriations and the upcoming surface transportation reauthorization as two opportunities
to fundamentally change the federal transportation program.

Transportation for America (T4America) urges Congress to fully fund critical transit, passenger rail
and multimodal programs at historic and/or FAST Act authorized levels this year and to set a vision for
the next 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.

“We can no longer afford to keep doing the same thing when it comes to our broken federal
transportation policy,” said Beth Osborne, Director of Transportation for America. “With several
potential opportunities ahead—FY20 appropriations, the looming surface transportation
reauthorization, or an infrastructure package— it’s vital that Congress recognize that new funding
alone will not solve our problems. We are asking Congress to reset our priorities, like prioritizing the
repair and maintenance of our existing roads before allowing states to build expensive new ones that
also bring decades of new repair costs. We are asking Congress to invest in providing more
transportation choices and to measure transportation success the way normal people do: by
measuring what destinations they can reach quickly, safely, and affordably, rather than by just
measuring how fast vehicles are traveling. We are urging Congress to prioritize safety and equity by
embedding these values in our system. And we are urging Congress to harness the power of
technology as a means to achieve these goals and prevent it from exacerbating our problems. These
are achievable shifts that would make a huge, positive difference in people’s lives across the country.”

The letter also asks that the surface transportation reauthorization do more to provide people with
real transportation options—rather than just driving—by investing in transit, biking and walking. And
that it ensures that local entities are allowed to regulate new technologies, such as autonomous
vehicles and electric scooters, focuses on elevating communities of color and low-income
communities that have been disproportionately harmed by past transportation investments, and
prioritizes safety over vehicle speed when designing roads.

Regarding fiscal year 2020 appropriations, T4America specifically asks that Congress fund the transit
Capital Investments Grants (CIG) program, the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage
Development (BUILD, formerly known as TIGER) program, the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and
Safety Improvements (CRISI) program for passenger rail at or above the authorized levels; and take
legislative action to keep the mass transit account of the Highway Trust Fund solvent. These locally
driven programs provide communities with resources to invest in important transportation
infrastructure and operations that are otherwise difficult to fund.

The full letter with the list of all 200+ signatories spanning 40 states and including 50 elected
officials can be found here.