T4America Blog

News, press releases and other updates

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Everyone agrees that repair is important. No one is willing to require it

comic illustration

Despite a fundamental lack of understanding by some members of Congress about the program they’re responsible for overseeing, the law sets states free to spend their federal transportation cash on eligible expenses, however they see fit. Our repair needs will never get addressed until we change this approach. Every time that we’ve polled voters over […]

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Rail barons return: How two freight railroads are trying to derail the infrastructure law’s historic investment in passenger rail

mosaic of mobile residents cheering on the 2016 inspection train

Two freight railroads have been waging a bad-faith effort to kill the incredibly popular, fully funded, multi-state effort to restore long-awaited passenger rail service along the Gulf Coast, in part because the precedent could stall the infrastructure law’s historic investment in the country’s passenger rail network which would give millions more Americans access to regular rail service.

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The infrastructure bill’s limited state of repair funding and policies

There is very little new funding in the infrastructure bill specifically dedicated to repair and no new requirements on highway monies for prioritizing repair on roads and bridges. Overall the law doubled down on the practice of giving states immense flexibility with the bulk of their money and then hoping that they use that flexibility to prioritize repair. Advocates should be ready to hold states and metros accountable for making progress. 

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Our solutions for congestion are worse than the problem

For decades, transportation agencies have been trying to “solve” congestion by increasing road capacity, even when doing so can obliterate or divide communities, harm local businesses, and make streets more dangerous. Our latest cartoon shows how our “cures” for congestion are often worse than the problem.

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The infrastructure bill is finished—what you need to know

The $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill is notable both for including Congress’ most significant effort to address climate change, and its general failure to make fundamental changes to a transportation program that’s responsible for massive increases in transportation emissions, worsening state of repair, unequal access to jobs, and increasing numbers of people killed on our roadways.

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Step one for repairing a problem: Stop making it worse

An excavator digs a massive hole titled "Dangerous Roads $$$". On the other side of the hole, a man tries to fill the hole with a small pile of dirt (labeled "Safety Improvements $." The comic is labeled "U.S. Approach to Road Safety."

Swap in any pressing issue—climate change, repair, safety—and this new illustration by Jean Wei describes the approach to solving it within the much-debated infrastructure bill, which passed on its own late last Friday. You’ll be hearing a lot of unfettered praise for it today, but we’re far more circumspect.

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T4America statement on the passage of the 2021 infrastructure deal

press release

After Congress’ final passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, aka “the infrastructure deal” on Friday, November 5, Transportation for America Director Beth Osborne offered this statement:

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More highways, more driving, more emissions: Explaining “induced demand”

Even if we hit the most ambitious targets for changing our cars and trucks over to electric vehicles, we will fail to meaningfully reduce emissions from transportation without confronting this simple fact: new roads always produce new driving. This costly feedback loop referred to as “induced demand” is the invisible force short-circuiting the neverending attempts to eliminate congestion by building or expanding roads.

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Amendments we’re tracking to the House INVEST Act

The INVEST Act, which hits all three of Transportation for America’s three principles, is being considered this week on the House floor ahead of a final vote. There are a few key amendments being offered that could jeopardize these improvements, or further improve the already strong bill in support of our principles.

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Senate Commerce Committee proves that bipartisanship doesn’t have to equal terrible transportation policy

The Senate committee tasked with handling the rail portions of the larger transportation bill managed to produce a bipartisan bill that also makes the expansion of reliable, frequent rail service to more Americans a cornerstone of its approach.

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Thank Chairman DeFazio for his leadership on the INVEST Act

11 Jun 2021 | Posted by | 1 Comment |

After a marathon session, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved the INVEST in America Act on Thursday with bipartisan support. Help us send a message of thanks to Chairman Peter DeFazio for his work advancing this groundbreaking bill. The Chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Rep. Peter DeFazio, was instrumental in constructing […]

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Build transit back better with more trains, more buses, more frequency

As more Americans begin returning to work and daily life, we need transit to be there, running reliably and frequently, getting us where we need to go. There’s an exciting new proposal to fund increased transit service across the country, but time is short to build support for this important legislation. While the INVEST 2.0 […]

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Nine ways the House’s transportation proposal starts to make a “paradigm shift”

With the House’s INVEST in America Act being considered in committee on Wednesday, it’s a good time to look at what else beyond our core three principles in the bill are worth praising and potentially even improving.

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New House transportation bill goes 3 for 3 on T4America’s core principles

Late last week the House released their new five-year proposal for transportation policy and spending, known as the INVEST in America Act. By focusing on making tangible progress on outcomes like repair, safety, climate change, and access to jobs and services—rather than just asking for more money for more of the status quo—House leaders have again proposed a paradigm shift in how we spend transportation dollars and measure what they accomplish.

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Five things to know about the INVEST Act, and how it compares to Senate bill

26 Jun 2020 | Posted by | 0 Comments | , ,

With the INVEST Act clearing a crucial vote in committee last week, it moves to the full House for a final vote. We’ve covered the bill from nearly every angle, but here are five important things to remember as the bill moves forward, including how it radically outperforms the Senate’s status quo proposal on reauthorization.

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Improving safety by making it a priority throughout the INVEST Act

24 Jun 2020 | Posted by | 0 Comments | , ,

As noted in our scorecard, the House’s INVEST Act transportation bill takes important strides to make safety a priority, from the inclusion of new performance measures all the way down to making changes with how agencies set speed limits. Here are five things to know.

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UPDATED: Amendment to the House’s INVEST Act *will* close the repair loopholes

16 Jun 2020 | Posted by | 1 Comment | , , , ,

UPDATE: This vital amendment to strengthen the repair provisions in the bill was approved. Read more.

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The House bill needs some changes to make repair the number one priority

The House’s new INVEST Act made a strong effort to prioritize maintenance, but there are still loopholes that can allow states and metro areas to avoid the legislative intent of a real, concrete focus on repair first. Here’s a run down on our concerns with the repair provision and how it could be strengthened in next week’s markup in the House transportation committee.

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CDC quietly revises their guidance to encourage people to use transit safely

Two weekends ago the CDC quietly revised their guidance for using public transportation after an outpouring of criticism from Transportation for America, NACTO, TransitCenter, the American Public Transportation Association, and others that the CDC was contradicting years of their own public health guidance that encouraging more driving incurs massive public health costs in pollution, respiratory illnesses, obesity, and preventable traffic deaths.

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If we want an infrastructure stimulus, there are valuable lessons to learn from 2009

While there are enormous needs for relief and support all across the economy, the president and many congressional leaders have indicated that they want infrastructure to be a major part of a future stimulus bill. If Congress does intend to use infrastructure spending to create jobs and support recovery, their own effort in 2009 has some clear lessons they should learn from.

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