T4America Blog

News, press releases and other updates

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Transit will be reeling from COVID-19 for years

8 Jul 2020 | Posted by | 0 Comments | ,

When cities and states began shutting down in response to COVID-19, the financial impact to transit was swift and immense, but the immediate impacts only tell part of the story. Given the myriad ways that transit is funded around the country, the fiscal impacts of the pandemic will likely be varied and long-lasting. Congress and state legislatures should strive to find ways to adequately plan for and address those shortfalls in the long-term.

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Transit projects slowly leaving the station

After the Trump administration took office, long-planned transit projects applying for federal grants began to run into administrative roadblocks, unexplained delays, and other difficulties that put the future of these projects at risk. In response, Transportation for America launched Stuck in the Station to call attention to these inexcusable delays and slowly USDOT began to respond to the pressure. Now, in light of that progress, our focus will be on policy solutions—changing the law—to make transit easier to build in America.

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“Shovel-ready” projects just dig a deeper hole

29 May 2020 | Posted by | 1 Comment | ,

Investing in “shovel-ready” projects—projects that are allegedly ready to go but just lacking funding—is an attractive idea for stimulating job growth. But as we learned in the 2009 stimulus, “shovel-ready” projects often aren’t all that shovel-ready, are frequently old road projects designed for the needs of the last century, fail to create jobs, and won’t help us build a safer, cleaner, and more equitable transportation system.

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Dear governor, our congestion “solutions” have failed

Governors and legislators in state houses across the country have a major role to play in ending the congestion con and spending our money on projects that will actually improve our lives—rather than just temporarily shortening some commutes by 30 seconds until the congestion returns. Help us make that a reality by sending your local officials a message.

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BUILDing Complete Streets

By now it’s well known that the Trump administration is no friend to transit funding. Even the BUILD grant program—which was originally designed to fund complex, multimodal projects—has been warped by the administration’s focus on roads. But there is one silver lining from the most recent awards: Complete Streets.

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Rose Lanes get love from Portland City Council

The Portland City Council is moving forward with a plan to improve transit service through a series of targeted improvements to some of the city’s most delayed bus and streetcar corridors. Known as the Rose Lane Project, it’s designed to advance equity, reduce carbon emissions, and increase transit ridership with quick-build projects. It also offers lessons to other cities struggling with sluggish transit systems mired in a sea of cars.

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Is this flurry of transit grants a blip or a trend?

The U.S. Department of Transportation has finalized five grants to expand and build new transit lines. It’s a stark departure from USDOT’s history of stonewalling grants under Trump. Could this surge of grants signal a shift in the agency’s stance? Perhaps. But it does highlight how our federal transportation system is structured to make transit hard to fund and why Congress should work to increase transit funding levels and certainty in new, long-term transportation policy that is currently being drafted. New transportation policy principles released in the House suggest that could be possible.

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Business groups urge Congressional support for transit funding

The business community gets it—public transportation is critical for the strength and growth of local economies and federal funding for transit is needed to get projects off the ground. In a letter to Congress, members of the Chambers for Transit coalition called for fully funding the nation’s largest grant program for public transit and reorienting the entire federal transportation program around clear goals and priorities.

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Congrats USDOT, for a job poorly done

Congress required USDOT to spend its 2018 transit funds by the end of this year, and USDOT was poised to fail. But at the last minute, Congress bailed them out by easing the requirement. As the deadline approaches, USDOT is still sitting on hundreds of millions of dollars in grants that it refuses to award, unnecessarily delaying critical new transit projects.

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Trump’s USDOT BUILDs even more roads

26 Nov 2019 | Posted by | 1 Comment | , , ,

Federal grants for multimodal projects announced this month are decidedly not multimodal. As our research has shown previously, the Trump administration has dramatically undermined this grant program by funding traditional road projects that could otherwise already be funded by states, siphoning resources from other, harder to fund projects—the original intent of the program. But the U.S. House has adopted some policy changes to try and salvage some of what made the BUILD program so popular under the Obama administration.

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