The current administration provides an opportunity to change decades-old federal transportation policy in order to achieve climate goals.
Since the beginning of the twentieth century, the federal government has issued funding to assist states in the construction and maintenance of highways and bridges along federal roadways.
For decades the federal government allotted just 20 percent of transportation funding to public transit. And it has limited that funding to only maintenance and capital needs—not operating dollars. This moratorium has been lifted for rural transit agencies since 1998, but large and mid-sized agencies still do not receive operating funds, which make up two-thirds of public transportation’s costs.
It wasn’t always like this. In the 1970s and 1980s, the federal government matched as much as $1 of operating assistance to transit agencies for every $2.25 provided by local and state governments, as Transportation for America covered in its report, Green New Deal for City and Suburban Transportation.
The current federal focus on building infrastructure, not providing service, leads to outcomes where we upgrade or extend a handful of routes while underinvesting in the broader network of service. As a result, ridership stagnates or shrinks, as described in the T4A report.
The 2015 surface transportation act — known as the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act — allocated $305 billion dollars in transportation spending over five years and is coming up for reauthorization.
At the same time, the White House has centered sustainable and equitable transportation spending in its plans for economic recovery. How can these two opportunities dovetail to benefit California?
On Thursday May 20, 5:00 to 6:00 p.m., SPUR is convening a panel of transportation leaders with insight into the Biden/Harris Administration’s plans for a discussion about federal transportation reauthorization and the opportunities and risks that this reauthorization holds for our state. This event is co-presented by Friends of Caltrain, Seamless Bay Area and Silicon Valley Leadership Group.
Co-presented by APA Northern California. AICP CM credits are available.
+ Phillip Washington / Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
+ Therese McMillan / Metropolitan Transportation Commission
+ Toks Omishakin / California Department of Transportation
Click here to pre-register for a link to this Digital Discourse. Enter the discount code CATranspo21 to attend for free.