T4America Blog

News, press releases and other updates

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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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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Electric vehicles aren’t good for equity, but we should try

An electric Smart car charges at a curbside charging station in DC

Electric vehicles, while vital for reducing emissions and meeting our long-term emissions reduction goals, are not a good strategy for improving existing inequities in transportation. But there are specific things we can and should do to make this transition more equitable than it otherwise would be.

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Electric vehicles are good for emissions, bad for advancing equity

A Black man walks to a bus stop along a multi-lane highway

Climate funders, electric vehicle industry groups, and environmentalists are rightly confronting the question of how to address equity in the electric vehicle space. They may not like the answer.

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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

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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Strides towards Building Back Better the US transportation program

a full bus of commuters

The revised version of the Build Back Better Act preserves $40 billion in important additions that will advance racial equity, address climate change by lowering emissions, and foster community-oriented economic recovery. T4America is encouraged to see these inclusions, but they’ll be a drop in the bucket compared to the much larger infrastructure deal, which doubles down on our dangerous, disconnected, high speed vehicle-dominated status quo.

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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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Want to save the climate? Start by funding transit operations

The current trend of more driving will make it harder for us to reach our emissions goals. Making public transit a more convenient and reliable option so people can access the things they need while taking shorter or fewer car trips is one way to reverse the trend of more driving.

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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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