T4America Blog

News, press releases and other updates

How four mayors from the Deep South are leading the expansion of national passenger rail

The three mayors smile broadly in front of the U.S. Capitol building in full suits (Monroe Mayor Friday Ellis sports a cowboy hat)

The mayors of Monroe, Ruston, and Shreveport, Louisiana, have joined forces with the mayor of Vicksburg, Mississippi to fight for new Amtrak service through their communities. This move has placed these four local officials at the center of the national conversation about expanding long-distance passenger rail service.

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New Community Connectors grant program and resources for advocates

A new grant program from Smart Growth America will help advance locally driven projects that will reconnect communities separated or harmed by transportation infrastructure and tap available federal and state funds to support them. Removing divisive infrastructure is largely uncharted territory in the United States, but the need to fix the damage it has caused […]

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House threatens funds for reconnecting communities

press release

The House’s debt ceiling package, H.R. 2811, proposes cuts to several programs, including the Neighborhood Access and Equity Program established under the Inflation Reduction Act. In response, T4A Director Beth Osborne issued the following statement.

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Greener Fleets: How federal dollars can supply the demand for clean transit

Electric buses line up in a brightly lit warehouse with an American flag in the background

The Low and No Emission Vehicles (Low No) program saw a big increase in funding in America’s historic infrastructure law, but an outdated and arbitrary requirement is pushing transit agencies toward buses that still pollute. Here’s how Congress and the Federal Transit Administration can avoid locking in emissions for years to come.

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Is the federal government squandering clean transit funds?

press release

A new report shows splitting clean transit funds between zero-emission vs. low-emission is holding U.S. transit agencies back from cleaning up the bus fleet.

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

11 May 2023 | Posted by | 0 Comments | ,
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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Is your state missing the bus? Evaluating state transit access and ridership

Transit riders representing a range of ethnicities board a bus in the state of Washington

The state you live in plays a major role in the quality of transit near you. Back in February, we took a look at state financial support for transit. This post focuses on the results of those investments.

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Senators call on President Biden to take national approach to passenger rail

Senator Cruz smiles as he speaks into a microphone in front of a shiny backdrop

Members of the Senate are stepping up to the plate to support passenger rail service across the country. Two sign-on letters from Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), the new ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, urge the administration and federal agencies to do right by the national network. Senator Roger Wicker […]

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Advocates call for White House council to track and reduce emissions

A man rolls a stroller down a wide sidewalk along a tree-lined street with a painted bike lane and crosswalk

While NEPA exists to protect the environment and communities, it has long fallen short of addressing climate emissions and protecting disadvantaged communities. In response to a call for comments about new guidance on climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, Transportation for America joined a nine-member working group to urge the White House to address transportation’s role in climate emissions and historic injustices.

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Reconnecting the Hill District to downtown Pittsburgh

19 Apr 2023 | Posted by | 0 Comments | ,
A brightly colored mural decorates the side of a building in the Hill District

In its heyday, the historic Hill District neighborhood was bursting with life. It was full of opportunities and culture; residents treasured it. After slowly cultivating a unique identity through generations and incremental layers of growth, it was nearly destroyed in just a few short years through the building of I-579 and the Civic Arena. Now, 60 years later, some connections are being restored.

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Tracking divides in Gretna, LA

Two sedans break as a train approaches, unable to cross

In a small southern city across the Mississippi River from New Orleans where daily freight trains run down the center of their main street, local elected leaders at all levels have negotiated with freight companies to relocate the incredibly disruptive freight line, but they’ll need federal support to make it happen.

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Off the rails: A call for freight railroad reform

Aerial view of several rolled train cars piled on top of and near each other, with smoke, debris, and water surrounding them.

Between all seven Class I freight railroad companies, the U.S. saw over 1,000 derailments in 2022. Norfolk Southern (the company responsible for the derailment in East Palestine) had 119 by itself. Other railways had even more, like BNSF which derailed 279 times in 2022. Derailments are harmful to the supply chain at best and record-setting environmental disasters at worst. The systemic problems within the freight industry that have led to derailments also have the side-effect of delaying passenger rail service.

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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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The stakes in the states

22 Mar 2023 | Posted by | 2 Comments | ,
Members of the Minnesota legislature convene in a warmly lit room with gold embellishments and white columns

The next federal transportation reauthorization won’t pass for another three years, but change can still happen at the state level. Here’s why state legislatures play a key role during this time and what they should do with that power.

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Mining public funds for (minimal) private gain

A line of electric trucks wait to be charged in a wide, half-empty parking lot

Lawmakers in Nevada have recently introduced legislation to set aside Carbon Reduction Program funds—about $3.9 million per year—for medium- and heavy-duty vehicle (MHDV) electrification. Although MHDV electrification is essential, assembly bill AB184’s method for doing so is inefficient, ineffective, and unnecessarily generous to private actors at the expense of taxpayers.

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Steps taken toward first expansion of passenger rail in decades

press release

Amtrak and SRC submit a planning grant that will expand long-distance passenger rail service along the I-20 Corridor and in the Deep South.

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A proposed bridge is haunting the Bay Area

A sunny hill filled with cheerful homes framed by a palm tree and blue sky

The Southern Crossing over the San Francisco Bay, proposed repeatedly over the past 77 years, has been rejected over and over again. Even as Reconnecting Communities funds will help Oakland study repairing the damage resulting from the interstate spur rammed through the heart of Oakland to serve as the eastern approach for this never-built bridge, the Southern Crossing shows how past choices continue to haunt the present—and future.

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

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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Reconnecting Communities awards advance needed change

press release

This morning, the Biden administration announced the first awards for the Reconnecting Communities Program. $185 million will fund 45 projects designed to address harms caused by divisive infrastructure. In response, T4A director Beth Osborne released the following statement.

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Eliminating driver error doesn’t work. What does? Part III: The Seven E’s

22 Feb 2023 | Posted by | 1 Comment | ,

Cities across the world are arriving at the same conclusion: the only acceptable number of pedestrian crash-related deaths is zero. How can state departments of transportation be part of the solution? In this third part of our blog series, we explore the seven E’s state DOTs should consider when making pedestrian safety infrastructure improvements.

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