The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) is retooling its plan for how to spend Measure B tax dollars after several cities protested the VTA's plan to spend most of the money on the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) extension to downtown San Jose. It’s past time to elevate the national conversation about infrastructure beyond just the price tag. Why in the world would we just pour more money into a program that is “devoid of any broad, ambitious vision for the future, and [in which] more spending has only led to more roads, more traffic, more pollution, more inequality, and a lack of transportation options,” as I wrote in the Washington Post during Infrastructure Week? investment in maintaining and recapitalizing our public transportation system. The Ohio General Assembly was able to come together and pass the state transportation budget after reaching agreement on record funding for public transportation and an increase in both the state motor fuel and diesel taxes. But note that “fix it first” has proven to be a Trojan horse for more of the same. Public transportation use has increased 38 percent since 1995 — nearly triple the growth rate of the population. Why are we spending $50 billion a year? What are we doing? Last year, Americans took more than 10.7 billion trips on transit, the highest level in over fifty years. 4 m illion in 2024‑25 and ongoing) from the State Highway Account (SHA) to augment funding for the Litter Abatement Program. Today, they don’t, and nothing about the debate so far in 2019 with Congress has indicated that will change. We won’t be able to meet this need if we continue to allocate the lion’s share of federal transportation funds to highway expansion. A Brooklyn native, Mr. Schumer has been a staunch supporter of public transit and has played a crucial role in securing funding for transit agencies during last year’s stimulus negotiations. Yet only 17.7% of federal transportation funding dollars go to public transportation, as opposed to highways, and those funds are largely restricted to capital expenses (buying new buses), not operating expenses (paying bus drivers). We’ve never really updated those broad goals from 1956 in a meaningful way. At present, funding for NEW tollway lane mileage lessens money for maintenance on existing streets and roads. Most highway funding comes from taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel, but a growing number of vehicles use alternative fuels and do not pay their share of highway costs. These brand new highways made things like cross-country and inter-state travel easier than we ever imagined possible. filled these shortfalls by transfers, largely from the general fund, that have shifted a total of The funding package included $14 billion to help public transit agencies across the country facing severe revenue shortages as a result of COVID-19. Well done. If the gas tax isn’t increased, that just means more money will come from the federal General Fund to keep up transportation spending, i.e., your policy only ensures further subsidization of driving. Principles for Universal Curbside Language & Standards, Why we are no longer advocating for Congress to increase transportation funding, Today’s Headlines – Streetsblog California, Transportation For America – Explaining our three principles for transportation investment, Advocacy Group: Stop Spending On New Roads – Streetsblog USA, Rail-Related News, September 22 – October 7, 2019 | Train Riders Association of California, The Week Observed, October 11, 2019 | City Observatory, https://streets.mn/2019/04/09/why-you-should-oppose-a-gas-tax-increase/, Transportation for America não exige mais financiamento para novas estradas e rodovias | Blog Ambiental, Transportation For America – Members of Congress launch a new caucus on transportation policy. The Governor proposes an increase of $31. But raising the gas tax or otherwise raising new funding overall has also been a core plank of our platform since 2013. The five-year, $494 billion surface transportation bill released by the Democratic majority within the House of Representatives’ Transportation and Infrastructure committee on June 3 aims to direct monies from the Highway Trust Fund to a spate of new formula and discretionary grant programs. Does anyone know anymore? See the national map of service cuts at: t4america.org/resources/transitfundingcrisis/, 1. The subsidy increase is capped by Virginia and Maryland at 3 percent. With the conversation about money put behind us, on Monday we’re releasing three new principles for what we expect this upcoming surface transportation bill to accomplish. We all have supreme confidence in their ability to spend hundreds of billions of dollars. Their ideas cannot advance without support from … T4America has concluded that more money devoted to this same flawed system will just do more damage. For as long as I’ve been working in transportation and probably longer, the debate surrounding the federal transportation program has been a one-note affair: a never-ending fight over who gets money and how much money they get. Nearly seven decades ago we set out with a clear purpose: connect our cities and rural areas and states with high-speed interstates and highways for cars and trucks and make travel all about speed. Why? See– https://streets.mn/2019/04/09/why-you-should-oppose-a-gas-tax-increase/, Pingback: Transportation for America não exige mais financiamento para novas estradas e rodovias | Blog Ambiental, Pingback: Transportation For America – Members of Congress launch a new caucus on transportation policy. So let’s stop limping along and spending billions with an unclear purpose and marginal returns. Another interstate route, highly congested I-95, will see toll lane additions at a cost of over $58 million per mile during three years of construction. 34 million times each weekday, board public transportation. The program should focus on what we’re getting for the funds we’re spending—not simply whether or not money gets spent and how much there was. The legislation provides $12.9 billion for public transportation in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020. Increase public transportation funding in the next federal transportation bill, 2. “Even with that $50 million added, NJ Transit acknowledged it would be facing at least a $86 million deficit for the upcoming year. A rural transit program's door-to-door service in Ames is at risk as federal funding is no longer available to subsidize rides in city limits. Due to these factors, transit agencies nationwide are being forced to cut service, raise fares, and lay off workers. The current high federal share means states don’t have to put very much skin in the game or prioritize their projects, they can just spend federal money. We’ll be back here on Monday as we unveil our principles. With the release of our brand new policy platform and … Pingback: Advocacy Group: Stop Spending On New Roads – Streetsblog USA, Pingback: Rail-Related News, September 22 – October 7, 2019 | Train Riders Association of California, Pingback: The Week Observed, October 11, 2019 | City Observatory. The problem, at least in part, is that we simply have too much that serves the wrong goals, and preserving it mindlessly is no answer. RT @annshikany: . The act, which supports transit funding through fiscal year 2020, reauthorizes FTA programs and includes changes to improve mobility, streamline capital project construction and acquisition, and increase the safety of public transportation systems across the country. In 2017, Americans took 10.1 billion trips on public transportation. Sometimes it is hard to see the forest for the trees, but you have made the right decision. No taxes are used for the funding of the incentive program. The work I do in the environment with species of concern, is seeing such drastic declines in population mostly due to roads and animal fatality by car. The West River Transit Authority, Inc. will receive funding to expand services and increase customer access for transportation to medical and wellness appointments in rural and transit-dependent communities with a smartphone app for ride booking, cancellation and confirmation. What the program should be about is accountability to the American taxpayer—making a few clear, concrete, measurable promises and then delivering on them. See T4America’s new principles and outcomes for federal transportation policy >>. Increasing flexibility would create more jobs, faster, greener and with broader benefits. Congress has • Overall spending from the Mass Transit Account for FTA formula grants would be $16.6 billion (a somewhat staggering 53.7 percent increase from this year’s level of $10.8 billion). The program was developed to influence car owners to use the county's bus service and the TIP program is helping to increase ridership. • All FTA formula grant funding in FY 2021 would be at a 100 percent federal share, requiring no state or local match. “Every year since 2008, there has been a gap between the dedicated tax revenues flowing into the Transit access make a difference to our economy, environment, and quality of life: Under current law, transit systems in areas above 200,000 in population cannot use their federal transit funds for operating assistance, putting a huge strain on their ability to maintain service. RELEASE: The emergency funding for transit and Amtrak is good but not enough, Over 160 elected officials and organizations support fundamental changes to the federal transportation program, Transportation for America’s statement on Pete Buttigieg as Transportation Secretary nominee, How we ranked Pete Buttigieg’s transportation plan during his presidential campaign. HIRTA, a program that provides rural transit in central Iowa, requested a 225% increase in funding from the Ames City Council through the ASSET program. If so, I’m truly disappointed. By Jason Warner, GOPC Manager of Government Affairs. Given the likelihood that worsening litter conditions will continue, we recommend that the Legislature approve the Governor’s proposal to increase funding for the program. Soon the local MPO (transportation funding) board here will decide to vote upon a “roll forward” program sponsored by the state DOT which includes ramp and interchange additions for less than seven (7) miles of an interstate highway at over $4.03 billion. Why we are no longer advocating for Congress to increase transportation funding. Where do you think those states will find the money to spend on roads? We are literally loosing entire populations at such a high rate that unless we make drastic changes to how we move as a people, our ecosystem will fall apart and eventually fail to support even us. So we’ve scrapped “provide real funding” from our core principles. We believe that whether Congress decides to spend more money or less, these three things should be paramount. “Public transportation is an investment in working people and working economies.” Funding cuts for the PVTA that result in route and service … According to a national poll, four in five Americans - 82% - believe that the United States would benefit from an expanded and improved public transportation system. More can be accomplished currently with locally funded efforts than nationally funded efforts. Housing and Transportation Affordability 4. Since our inception in 2008, Transportation for America has always primarily advocated for reforming the federal transportation program. Learn more about T4America's three simple principles for federal transportation investment. Whereas the 2016 budget for major transit capital expenditures was $2.2 billion, this list includes federal commitments for the $3.5 billion corresponding to the increase in funding the president is proposing for transportation overall—in other words, far more than Congress is likely to approve. Public Transportation,” updated June 7, 2019: If approved, this proposition authorizes up to 0.15% sales and use tax expiring April 1, 2027, and as proposed in Ordinance 126115, to replace the current voter-approved 0.1% sales tax, expiring December 31, 2020. public transportation. Public transportation use has increased 38 percent since 1995 — nearly triple the growth rate of the population. This is evident in the Department’s Conditions & Performance Report to Congress, which found an $86 billion backlog of bus and rail transit assets that need to be repaired or replaced, and … 1. The 2018-19 budget increases flex funding for public transit by $10 million a year over the FY 2016-17 budget. Good start! How many bridges are structurally deficient, how poor our roads are, the long backlogs of neglected maintenance, the (severely inflated) costs of congestion, perhaps even a few voices about the alarming increase in people struck and killed while walking…the list of woes goes on and on. I think you should also mention the role of road building on increasing VMT and climate change …and how “Preservation First” policies in most states aren’t working …and how funding for HOV or FAST lanes has just opened up new revenue streams for state DOTs to build yet more roads. Miles Traveled by Mode 5. Nationally, voters approved 90% of transit proposals last year, according to the American Public Transportation Association. Enter your email address to receive all blog posts & releases via email. Since our inception in 2008, Transportation for America has always primarily advocated for reforming the federal transportation program. https://www.cdc.gov/policy/hst/hi5/publictransportation/index.html I hope the new policy includes lowering the federal share for new highway projects below the current 80%. Our question is whether that money can be spent in a way that accomplishes something tangible and measurable for the American people. April 22, 2020 < Back to Latest. And then, predictably, states, interest groups, members of Congress and others call for more money for the federal transportation program as the only logical solution, with no clear promises made for how this money will solve any of the problems outlined above or precisely what will be better or different after five years of spending yet billions more. Transportation funding plan would increase gas taxes ... bridges and public transit. Stop funding more road widening projects to support single occupant vehicles, and use that money to develop the public transportation system which can better use existing roads. [Above photo by the Utah Transit Authority.] The Federal Transit Administration noted on January 19 that 37 projects will share of $15.8 million in funding to support strategies that “develop, deploy, and demonstrate solutions” for making COVID-19 related transit operational efficiency and rider mobility improvements. Meanwhile, the nearly parallel regional commuter rail line announced fare increases (To lessen travel demand?) Your policy change, to drop an increase in transportation funding, is music to the ears of a few fiscal conservatives and some moderates (myself included). 8 m illion in 2020‑21 (growing to $43. From what I can see, Singapore has shown that congestion pricing is the medicine we need. The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is recommending that Congress increase its funding of transit systems in the U.S. by $11.5 billion per year. Please be brave enough to prescribe it! We’ve moved from the exponential returns of building brand new connections where they didn’t exist to the diminishing, marginal returns of spending billions to add a new lane of road here and there, which promptly fills up with new traffic. Public transportation Trips per Capita 7. We need a clear set of explicit goals for the federal program. The City of Seattle’s Proposition 1 concerns funding for transit and related transportation needs in Seattle. Physical Activity from Transportation 6. Does Transportation for America oppose hiking the federal gas tax, unchanged since 1993? Public transportation is a $71 billion industry that employs more than 420,000 people. The source of funding is state taxpayer dollars. Time to dramatically redirect funding to modes that decrease carbon emissions, not for expenditures that keep them where they are. © Copyright 2013-2017 Transportation For America | All Rights Reserved. VMT per Capita Pingback: Today’s Headlines – Streetsblog California. At the same time California’s public transit agencies are working to serve their increasing ridership, they face shortfalls in state and local revenues brought on by the recession and the contentious state budget. House Democrats on Friday announced they plan to introduce amendments to the transportation bill to increase transit funding. Please don’t fall for the so-called “common sense” of maintaining what we have. Taxpayers deserve to know what they’re getting for their spending. Those who get a little money want a bigger piece of the pie. This funding level is a reduction of 3.7 percent (-$503 million) below the FY 2019 enacted funding level. Congratulations. Yet only 17.7% of federal transportation funding dollars go to public transportation, as opposed to highways, and those funds are largely restricted to capital expenses (buying new buses), not operating expenses (paying bus drivers). Most public transportation systems are grossly under-funded and lack enough service to meet commuter demands. $143.6 billion to the HTF…” The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act was signed into law in December 2015. Good Day Beth Osborne, Every time federal transportation reauthorization comes up, we hear endless cries about the poor state of our crumbling infrastructure. Those who get money want more flexibility to spend it however they want. Complete Streets Policies 3. 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