With this bill Congress had the opportunity to establish a transportation program that would support communities' efforts to become more sustainable and economically resilient. Unfortunately, the conference report missed this opportunity and is in many ways a retreat from these goals. While I am pleased to see that funding for public transit was preserved at current levels, rather than being cut by 30% as was proposed last year, and that some transit-oriented development (TOD) language was included, the bill could have done so much more to provide transportation choices for people in rural, suburban, and urban areas to connect them with jobs, education, healthcare, and opportunity.
Reconnecting America President and CEO John Robert Smith welcomed the Department of Transportation's announcement of $500 million in funding for TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) 2012 grants across the country, especially in small towns and rural areas.
Reconnecting America and the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) today released a report that examines how smaller communities and rural regions are using transit and other mobility investments to revitalize their economies and connect residents to local and regional opportunities.
Recordings of the interview with John Robert Smith are available on The Infra Blog at InfrastructureUSA.org
Guest on THE INFRA BLOG
Conversation with Steve Anderson, Managing Director, InfrastructureUSA
The Current Transportation Bill: Slow, but Some Progress
Well, certainly, this is not a seismic shift in how we see transportation. It is notthe visionary, interconnected series of transportation investments and choices that I want to see play out during the life of my grandson. But I do think we have to recognize the gains that have been made, and especially within the political context and the economic environment that we operate in. I do think there have been important wins in this bill, and even though it's short term, I think it sets the stage for a much more robust visionary discussion, debate, authorization, and appropriation for…
I am pleased there is now bipartisan action on transportation reauthorization by the House that can be conferenced with the Senate. While this six-month extension does not provide the certainty of a multi-year reauthorization, it will keep our transportation network functioning at current funding levels and allow for a conference to begin with the Senate on a longer-term transportation bill.
I look forward to working with the conference committee to ensure that the final version of the bill includes language to keep our existing transit systems operating and provides support for local communities to invest in new transit services, bicycle and pedestrian projects, and transit-oriented development. These items combined will offer more options for Americans in how they travel to meet their daily needs, reducing costs for families struggling with today’s high gas prices.