Concrete actions that the Administration can take on days 1 through 100
The Biden-Harris Administration inherited the country’s largest-scale disaster in nearly a century, and with it, a mandate to correct the mistakes of the past. 2020 exposed how our antiquated transportation policies and infrastructure exacerbated the effects of the pandemic, and how insufficient it would be to build back like before. The new administration must chart a new course for American mobility that puts people first.
See the concrete actions that the Administration can take on days 1 through 100, through executive actions and in partnership with Congress, to recover from the worst crisis our cities have seen in generation.
A once-in-five-year opportunity to rethink America’s transportation program
The FAST Act, the current federal transportation law, directs $50 billion in annual transportation spending, and governs nearly every aspect of U.S. transportation policy. This bill will expire in September 2021, offering a once-in-a-five-year opportunity to reset the country’s transportation priorities.
By passing a new, transformative bill, Congress could:
- End the epidemic of traffic deaths on the country’s streets, through thoughtful investments in safer infrastructure for all road users.
- Put the majority of Americans within reach of reliable, frequent transit, providing convenient, low-cost, and low-carbon access to jobs, education, and essential amenities.
- Remedy the long legacy of racial injustice in transportation and make critical investments in communities harmed or neglected by past planning decisions.
- Ensure the timely implementation of projects that create local jobs while advancing safety, sustainability, and equity goals.
- Bring project decisions closer to taxpayers, at the local level.
Read NACTO’s Priorities for the 2021 Surface Transportation Bill (pdf) >>
Ensure transit is there for 2.8 million essential workers today, and for cities’ economic recovery in the future
Every day, 2.8 million essential workers take transit to reach their jobs, and yet, our nation’s transit agencies are in an existential crisis. Even as transit revenue from fares and taxes has declined, transit agencies are spending more to ensure that buses, train cars, and stations are well-ventilated and sanitized, that workers have PPE, and that service is frequent enough to promote social distancing.
For the people and cities who rely on this essential service, Congress must provide direct support—the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) has identified a need for $39.3 billion in additional assistance for transit agencies to cover projected funding shortfalls through 2023. Our lives today, and the future strength of our communities, depend on it. Without transit, we risk our recovery.
Give cities the authority they need to build responsive, impactful, and multimodal projects
Safe, convenient, and reliable transportation is the bedrock of a functioning city. Despite this, cities are not in control of their own transportation funding, and decisions that affect their residents are made outside of local hands.
For cities to achieve the best outcomes for their residents, Congress must empower cities in the following ways:
- Cities need authority to direct funding to their priorities;
- Cities need authority to approve or prevent project designs and construction of projects in their jurisdiction;
- Cities need should have access to the same accelerated project delivery processes as states;
- Cities need a mechanism to participate in decisions about projects located outside their jurisdiction but that impact them.
Read NACTO and Transportation for America’s policy proposals to ensure federal transportation funding meets local needs (pdf) >>