T4America Blog

News, press releases and other updates

Posts Tagged "IIJA"

Vision Zero won’t happen without Safe Streets for All

Seattle Vision Zero sign: Look Out for Each Other

The infrastructure law created a new grant program to help communities tackle the increasing rate of roadway deaths. The Safe Streets and Roads for All program allows localities to take direct steps to improve safety for all roadway users, whether they’re setting up a Vision Zero plan or actually planning, designing, and constructing street safety improvements. Funding is available now.

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The infrastructure law wasn’t perfect, but now it’s reality

Pedestrians, cyclists, and transit riders navigate a busy street

Focusing on whether the infrastructure law was “good” or “bad” will fail to shape how its historic cash is spent over the next five years. That’s precisely why T4America is pressing on to enable USDOT, states, metro areas, and local communities to maximize the potential of this flawed legislation.

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We need a new approach to transportation: T4A’s efforts to get there

Six months into 2022, a lot’s been accomplished on the implementation of the 2021 infrastructure law, but there’s still a long way to go.

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Justice40 “benefits” could mean more emissions, worse health outcomes in disadvantaged communities

A biker cruises in the sidewalk along a busy street

In President Biden’s first weeks in office, he established an environmental justice initiative called Justice40, which aims to direct benefits from federal investments to disadvantaged communities. Today, the administration is working on more specific guidance on how Justice40 should be applied, which will determine how effective this effort will be.

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Getting to equitable outcomes in the infrastructure law

A crowd of pedestrians in downtown Seattle

Despite the rhetoric, the infrastructure law falls well short of truly addressing the decades of harm our transportation system has inflicted on marginalized communities, and could even exacerbate existing inequities. However, it does provide some notable opportunities to restore and invest in these communities’ infrastructure needs.

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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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Developing a workforce to get the most out of the infrastructure bill

An Amtrak employee interacts with passengers on the train

Workforce recruitment and retention issues that plagued the transportation industry long before the pandemic now threaten the industry’s ability to implement and get the most out of the 2021 infrastructure bill. Though there are workforce development programs in the infrastructure bill, the administration still needs to take action to make these programs a reality.

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Pro-tip: Invest in the solution, not in the problem

comic illustration

Congress and states love to create small, discrete programs to solve big transportation problems. They do not like to stop the types of investments that are causing the problems, even when far more money is perpetuating the issues those new programs are meant to solve. With historic amounts of infrastructure funding headed into states’ hands even as streets are growing more dangerous and we urgently need environmental solutions, it’s time to change that strategy.

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The infrastructure law and boosting access to jobs and services

a farmers market filled with pedestrians

The ultimate point of transportation spending should be to connect people to jobs and services. But that’s not what we primarily use as a measure of success and the new infrastructure law maintains the status quo of focusing on moving vehicles quickly as a (poor) proxy for access. This means that, absent some changes that USDOT can still make, states and communities will need to make the most of the flexibilities within the infrastructure law to advance multimodal access to jobs and services.

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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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How will the infrastructure law improve active transportation and Complete Streets?

A Complete Street with a short crosswalk, two bike lanes, two lanes for cars, and wide sidewalks for pedestrians

When done right, active transportation infrastructure can cut greenhouse gas emissions, improve public health, keep people safer, and promote equity. But how will the new infrastructure law’s $650 billion in formula and competitive grant programs help to build safer, Complete Streets? What policies changed to prioritize active transportation investments? Here’s what you need to know, and how you can make these programs and policies work for you.

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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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One year in, how is the Biden team really doing on transportation?

President Biden wears a mask as he signs executive orders

A year in, the Biden administration helped pass historic investments in infrastructure and spoke out about safety, repair, and equity, but a lot of potential improvements have been left on the table.  Congress passes the laws but the administration has to implement them. Here’s our update on their progress and the opportunities still left on the table for them to advance their stated goals. 

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What does the new infrastructure law mean for micromobility?

Three people select citibikes at a docking station

The expansion of grant and formula eligibility in the infrastructure law to include micromobility will give communities and states additional options for providing more transportation options, but those that are doing the most to make their streets safe and convenient stand to gain the most as well.

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Positioning for competitive grant application success

A conference room filled with diverse people taking notes

With scores of competitive, surface transportation grant programs to administer, USDOT faces a heavy lift to get these programs off the ground, on top of administering the legacy programs that already existed. How should prospective grant applicants start preparing for success?

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Passenger rail funding in the infrastructure bill: Building a national network

Passenger rail was one of the brightest spots in the new infrastructure bill, with $102 billion for passenger and freight rail projects through direct grants to Amtrak and competitive grant programs. Here’s what you need to know about this new money and the bill’s rail policy changes, and how they can be best used to expand and improve passenger rail service across the U.S.

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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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Transit funding in the infrastructure bill: what can it do for me?

Bus stopping in front of a crosswalk filled with pedestrians

The new infrastructure bill authorizes $109 billion to fund public transit projects through formula and competitive grant programs. Here’s what you need to know about the new money and (modest) policy changes to the transit program, as well as how you can make them work for you.

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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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