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A way to improve the infrastructure deal

The transportation programs for the budget reconciliation package would help fill the gaps left by the bipartisan infrastructure deal. 

Close-up of Capitol building
Photo by S Chia on Flickr

Update 9/21: This post was updated to include progress made in the House since its original post date.

Congress’ final infrastructure deal (the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act) didn’t live up to the original bipartisan package announced with pride by the White House and Senate on June 24, cutting transit funding by $10 billion while almost all other areas matched the original proposal. The House’s budget reconciliation package takes steps to restore this funding, while also going further to provide equitable access to goods and services, improve climate outcomes, and reduce the negative impacts of the transportation system on disadvantaged communities.

The House’s reconciliation package includes a new $10 billion transit program, helping to rectify the $10 billion taken from transit in the final bipartisan infrastructure bill. This funding includes flexibility for operations support, which will be key for transit agencies hit hard by the pandemic. It’s also specifically designed to connect residents of disadvantaged or persistent poverty communities to jobs and essential services. 

Another win for equity: the budget also provides $4 billion for communities negatively impacted by transportation. These funds can be used to improve walkability, reduce the public health impacts of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and improve road safety.

There’s an additional $4 billion for incentive grants for states that reduce GHG emissions significantly or adopt targets to reach zero emissions by 2050. Funding is also included for USDOT to institute a GHG emissions performance measure to help prioritize projects that reduce travel time and emissions. Former President Trump repealed this measure and reinstating it is one of our key tasks for the Biden administration.

To help address needs at a local level, the House added $6 billion to advance local surface transportation projects.

The House also added $10 billion for the planning and development of public high-speed rail projects and $150 million for credit risk premium assistance, making it easier for smaller railroads to access and benefit from these funds. This funding will help improve passenger rail service, making it a more convenient and reliable form of transportation.

We enthusiastically support these programs and encourage you to tell your senator to include them in the final budget reconciliation package.

6 Comments

  1. Elery Keene

    3 months ago

    Improving transit – buses = et al – to help people go to where they need to go and get back will be more energy efficient than each driving their own automobile. So it is a good idea to fund buses and to some extent passenger rail.to get people where they need to go. It worked pretty well in the 1930’s and 1971’s.
    Elery Keene

  2. Beth Budner

    3 months ago

    Please re-allocate our Infrastructure bill’s $ to most vulnerable and/or undeserved areas (i.e. Marlboro, MA) by adding more transit options (i.e. Commuter Rail and/or bus) minus any mega highways to reduce more fatalities.

  3. Steve Birdlebough

    3 months ago

    It is time to shift funding from automobile travel to projects that reduce driving and enable more people to use convenient transit as well as safe bicycle lanes and well-maintained sidewalks. Road-building and road-widening projects often have adverse environmental results, partly because they encourage more people to live farther from their jobs. Roads should receive less federal funding than transit. We need to learn how to drive less from places like the Netherlands.

  4. Stephanie Stout

    3 months ago

    For purposes of planning, regulatory approval, and funding: walking, riding bicycles, and public transportation should ALWAYS take priority over highways for cars and trucks. Every city should be provided with extensive mass transit to make driving unnecessary. ALL of our cities should be connected by by fast, frequent passenger and freight trains. Towns not on the railway system should be connected to the rail system by frequent intercity bus service. At least 45,000 route miles of our existing rail system should have funding for expanded track capacity, signal upgrades, electrification, and grade separation from streets, roads, and highways in order to make frequent passenger and freight trains the primary ground transportation system.

  5. Sue Amorosi

    2 months ago

    Agreed! Prioritize maintenance over new construction, design for safety, and build transportation networks that connect people to people, jobs and services with the happiest methods of getting places; biking, walking and mass transit.

  6. Joe.R

    2 months ago

    I find Transit Agencies waste the $$$$ to duplicate services or operate in areas with very low ridership My local Transit has done this several times when the got Federal money to expand transit