We normally leave the Bill de Blasio coverage to the Streetsblog NYC crew, but the new mayor made some remarks today at the U.S. Conference of Mayors that everyone should take note of.
At the conference’s plenary session, de Blasio made reference, without really naming it, to the single biggest demand of transportation reformers going into the negotiation for the next national bill: local control.
Bicycle advocates successfully fought for local control over some bike and pedestrian dollars precisely because they know that those dollars get lost in a highway vortex at the state level. State bureaucracies don’t think about the local projects that make a big difference in mobility and sustainability in cities and towns. But mayors sure do.
That’s why Transportation for America has rebranded itself as a coalition of local leaders, instead of national organizations. It’s found that it’s most effective when it brings mayors, MPO officials, and business leaders to Congress than when it brings a bunch of Beltway policy wonks. Lawmakers listen to them.
And so rather than rally behind a long menu of policy reforms, T4 is now putting its energy into just one: local control.
And that’s the song Bill de Blasio was singing today. He noted the importance of local control on a number of issues, and transportation was chief among them.