T4America Blog

News, press releases and other updates

Author Archive

Rays of hope: National City, CA’s Community Connectors story

A group of people representing a range of ages, genders, and ethnicities, stands in a circle beneath a highway overpass, with the sun rising in the background

After many decades of being divided by highways, community members in National City, CA are building capacity to reconnect their community in a project that will also acknowledge their community’s heritage and future.

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Building back better: Reflections on the state of infrastructure repair in the U.S.

9 Apr 2024 | Posted by | 0 Comments | ,
A long bridge over a river stops abruptly halfway across, with a quarter-long section lying crumped in the river below

Despite substantial federal funding available to address “crumbling roads and bridges,” our infrastructure’s state of repair is an ongoing issue, and climate change is only adding to the problem.

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Amtrak’s path to world-class service

7 Sep 2023 | Posted by | 0 Comments | ,
People in business and casual attire gather on a platform to board an AVE train in Madrid.

US passenger rail was the envy of the world at the turn of the 20th century. As global temperatures rise, and with the growing need to enhance intercity mobility options to get to economic and civic opportunities, it’s high time to look to and emulate our international peers in developing passenger rail: iterate, innovate, and don’t fall for the immediacy trap.

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San Juan, PR: Trampling communities and a national rainforest in the name of “economic progress”

Aerial view of Puerto Rico prior to PR 66 construction with forest and aerial view of PR 66 after construction with forest construction and sprawl

Deemed a project of major economic significance for several decades by the Puerto Rico’s Department of Transportation (DTOP), the agency rammed through community opposition, environmental review processes, and legal battles to construct PR-66, a limited access tollway that is benefitting few and scarring communities and their environs.

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Streets are for people in theory, but why not in practice?

A full range of transportation options are on display: bicyclists and pedestrians in the left lane, a bus in the right lane, and wide crosswalks in the foreground.

Streets have always been a community gathering place since the beginning of civilizations. But why do we continue to elevate the car over people? Bogotá’s weekly Ciclovía is a regular reminder of how people can take back their streets to improve safety and access.

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Think creatively, go bold, iterate time and again on transit

8 Mar 2023 | Posted by | 1 Comment | , ,
Three TransMilenio buses are waved on by a police officer in a brightly colored vest

Transit serves as the sustainable mobility lifeline for people in many communities around the world. Transit also serves as the great equalizer, transporting white collar workers, essential workers, tourists, as well as youth and seniors. Yet in the US, transit is still deemed over-resourced and undeserving. Traveling on Bogotá’s TransMilenio highlighted what matters most in transit service delivery: a willingness to think creatively in order to improve service.

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Two years in and a changed Congress—How does Biden stack up and move forward on transportation?

The sunsetting 117th Congress passed historic investments in infrastructure, via the 2021 infrastructure law and the Inflation Reduction Act. In parallel, the Biden Administration has rolled up its sleeves to implement those infrastructure investments with an eye towards safety, repair, and equity. Now with the incoming and divided 118th Congress, the Biden team is running out of time to make inroads on advancing its goals.

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Little-known university research centers could hold the key for transportation solutions

27 Jul 2022 | Posted by | 0 Comments | , , ,

The infrastructure law sets aside funding for university transportation centers (UTCs) to research and provide actionable recommendations on emerging transportation issues. However, in the face of mounting climate resiliency, equity, safety, mobility access, and state of repair concerns, are UTCs poised to meet the moment?

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Safety and mobility choice through rural California

Juxtaposed by a well-supported bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles, there are many people in rural communities, particularly agricultural workers, along the route that are in critical need of vital, reliable, affordable transportation options, and suffer dire health and economic consequences as a result.

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USDOT and Congress: Taking sides but not talking about implementation

Sheltered Richmond bus stop by a bus only lane

If we’re going to ensure that the historic amount of transit funding in the infrastructure law actually results in good, usable, high quality transit that improves access to jobs and services, Congress is going to need to do a better job of oversight and thinking through the very real and difficult issues at hand for transit, not just arguing about whether or not transit is a vital part of transportation and mobility in communities small and large.

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Our advice to USDOT and Congress: Make no little plans

3 Mar 2022 | Posted by | 1 Comment | , , , ,
Senator Capito uses visual aids at the EPW hearing

A Senate committee called Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to testify about implementing the new infrastructure law, but much of the day was spent criticizing or defending FHWA’s nonbinding memo encouraging states to prioritize state of good repair, safety, and climate mitigation—displaying a deep confusion in some members of Congress about the limits of USDOT’s authority.

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USDOT controls $200+ billion in competitive grants for states and metros

Bag of money

While the bulk of the $643 billion for surface transportation in the infrastructure bill goes out to state DOTs, more than $200 billion stays with USDOT to be awarded via competitive grants to states, metro areas, and tribal governments—through dozens of newly created, updated, and existing competitive grant programs.

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USDOT urges states to prioritize repair, safety, and climate with their influx of infrastructure bill cash

road sign that says "changed priorities ahead"

Although state DOTs have always been free to prioritize repair, safety, or improving access for everyone across the entire system, most have traditionally chosen to use that flexibility to build new highways instead. With state DOT coffers soon to be loaded with billions from the new infrastructure bill, USDOT is urging states via a new […]

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Show me the money: Financial breakdown of the infrastructure law

graphic showing comparison data between fast act and infrastrucure bill

A month has passed since the $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal was signed into law. There is much to unpack as to exactly how much money there is for the surface transportation program and how it can be used.

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Lemonade from lemons: Improvements worth celebrating within flawed infrastructure bill

Pier 1 embarcadero

Money from the finalized $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal is already flowing out to states and metro areas who are plugging it right into projects both already underway and on the horizon. After covering six things the administration should do immediately to maximize this mammoth infusion of unexpected cash, here’s a longer look at some of the law’s incremental or notable successes, with the aim of equipping the administration and advocates alike to steer this money toward the best possible outcomes.

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Behind the scenes on the rise in pedestrian and cyclist fatalities and injuries

A bike on its side after a crash

Driver expectations, higher speeds resulting from less congestion, major gaps in infrastructure, and a systemic criminalization of pedestrian and cyclist traffic on the road have contributed to the alarming, record increases in the deaths of people struck and killed while walking or biking, according to researchers.

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From policy to action: Six things USDOT should do yesterday to maximize the potential of the infrastructure deal

entrance to the USDOT headquarters

Because of the shortcomings in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA)’s actual policy, an enormous amount of pressure now rests on USDOT and Secretary Buttigieg to deliver on the administration’s promises. But the good news is that there are scores of actions that USDOT can take to deliver positive outcomes for equity, climate, safety, state of repair, and enhancing community connections.

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After COVID, who’s driving the bus?

A child waits at his bus stop

As schools have returned to in-person learning and employment centers come back to life, mobility is grinding to a halt with a slow return of bus operators, the result of market pressures and ill-timed disinvestments.

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Federal transportation funding opportunities 101

There are ample opportunities for the infrastructure law to support good projects and better outcomes. These five in-depth, detailed guides explain the available federal programs for funding public transportation, passenger rail, Complete Streets and active transportation, and EV infrastructure.

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Three ways reconciliation can restore funds taken from transit and equity

Nancy Pelosi speaking into a microphone with Chuck Schumer on her right, AFGE behind her

With the bipartisan infrastructure deal approved by the Senate, opportunities to shift long-term transportation policy will shift to the House and to program implementation. The opportunity in the House is through targeted investments via the budget reconciliation bill that will accompany the House infrastructure bill vote.

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