Op-Ed: Why We Are Relaunching the ‘Future of Transportation’ Caucus

Image: David Wilson, CC
Image: David Wilson, CC

Garcia, Pressley Takano 2Two and half years ago, we launched the Future of Transportation Caucus because we were at a crossroads with respect to our transportation systems. Our crumbling roads, our failing public transit systems, and rising carbon emissions from the transportation sector were exacerbating the climate crisis and further entrenching inequities and disparities in our communities.

Despite the progress we’ve made since the launch of our Caucus, including the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, these challenges remain, and in some respects are even worse. For example, greenhouse gas emissions in the United States from the transportation sector reached record levels in 2021.

The infrastructure law provides record levels of investment in surface transportation, including public transit, roads,  passenger rail, and cycling and walking. But more money poured into the same broken system does not guarantee it will yield better results. Unfortunately, the law does not include the transformative investments and policy changes in public safety, transit expansion, and alternatives to highways that the House passed in the INVEST in America Act or Build Back Better Act last year.

That’s why we are relaunching the Future of Transportation Caucus: because our work to build more equitable, accessible, and sustainable transportation systems is far from finished and we cannot miss this opportunity to deliver for our communities.

Our country still needs a new vision for transportation in which everyone can affordably, reliably, and safely reach their destinations — a progressive, forward-thinking vision that centers the needs of working people, makes our communities more connected, and leaves no one behind.

With the infrastructure law set to invest hundreds of billions of dollars in physical infrastructure projects across the country, our Caucus will work with the Biden Administration, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and stakeholders to ensure the projects and policies we implement meet our communities’ needs. That means making our existing roads and bridges safer, emphasizing equity, access and sustainability, and targeting federal dollars to communities that need them most.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides a path forward, but only if we seize the moment and recognize the role that transportation can play in rooting out some of the starkest inequities and disparities facing the nation. Our Caucus will do that, and we will build on the progress made through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act by continuing to fight to deliver the Build Back Better Act so we can make the remaining investments our workers and families need in this moment.

It’s time we challenge the status quo, revisit the core assumptions and policies underlying our transportation system, and fundamentally reimagine transportation solutions that will help us achieve socio-political and environmental justice in America.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Is Your Rep a Member of the New Public Transportation Caucus Yet?

|
The answer to that question is: Probably not. Reps. Daniel Lipinski, a Democrat from Chicago, and Michael Grimm, a Republican representing Staten Island and a little slice of Brooklyn, announced their new transit-focused Congressional caucus just last week, and this week the House has been in recess. But according to Lipinski spokesperson Guy Tridgell, there has […]
The White House could exclude climate change from new infrastructure projects in a revision of a 50-year-old environmental rule this week. Image: J. Daniel Escareño

Congress Vows to Fight Trump’s Environmental Rule Change

|
The Transportation Research Board’s 99th Annual Meeting will be held in Washington, D.C. from Jan. 12-16, 2020. Click here for more information. Congressional leaders vowed they won’t let the president get away with gutting environmental laws after learning the Trump administration will scrap requirements to consider the climate consequences for new highways and pipelines. A White […]