January 25, 2024

RELEASE: Congressmen Auchincloss and Cohen and Senator Markey Reintroduce Complete Streets Act

Measure prioritizes sidewalks, crosswalks, bus stops and bike lanes in road design priorities

NEWTON, MA – Congressman Jake Auchincloss (MA-4), Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-9) and Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts, today reintroduced an improved version of their Complete Streets Act, which would make roads safer and more accessible by ensuring states direct a portion of their federal highway funding towards the creation of a Complete Streets Program. A “complete street” provides safe and accessible transportation options for children, seniors, and people with disabilities by prioritizing infrastructure for pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transit users. Under the Complete Streets Act, eligible local and regional entities can use funds from their state’s Complete Streets Program for technical assistance and capital funding to build safe street projects such as sidewalks, bike lanes, crosswalks, and bus stops. The legislation would also phase in a requirement for states to incorporate complete streets elements into all new construction and reconstruction.

Congressman Auchincloss made the following statement:

“Walking shouldn’t be dangerous. Pedestrian deaths are surging in the United States, and Congress must respond. Promoting Complete Streets helps ensure that pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists operate safely. And the design and infrastructure of Complete Streets is not just safer – it’s also better for ambience, the environment, and retail.”

Congressman Cohen made the following statement: 

“The United States is facing a national safety crisis on our roads. In recent years, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of pedestrians killed by vehicles, especially in Memphis. We need streets that can accommodate all means of transportation, from foot traffic and strollers to bicycles, cars, light trucks and 18-wheelers. Our new Complete Streets Act will transform communities and make it safer for everyone to travel on and adjacent to our roadways.”

Senator Markey made the following statement:

“It’s time to reverse course in our country and bring the increasing number of roadway fatalities to a full stop. When we fund a complete street, we make a community complete with equitable, safe, and accessible transportation—all while reducing our reliance on gas-guzzling vehicles. I thank Congressman Cohen for his partnership in making sure that the roads we use every day work for all people.”

Endorsing organization statements in support of the Complete Streets Act:

Benito Pérez, Policy Director at Transportation for America, made the following statement:

“Every person has the right to be safe when traveling on our roads, no matter how they choose to get around—but for people outside of a car, that’s often more of a pipe dream than reality. We applaud Senator Markey and Representative Cohen for their leadership in introducing the Complete Streets Act. By offering state-level grants to design and build Complete Streets, this bill provides a tangible step forward to improving safety, accessibility, and health outcomes for all road users.”

Bill Nesper, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists, made the following statement:

“Everyone should be able to safely walk or bike with their kids to the playground. The Complete Streets Act would give local governments access to the resources and funding to invest in safer roads in our communities. Too often that trip to the playground is blocked by an intersection too dangerous for families to cross, or streets without sidewalks for families to walk on. The League of American Bicyclists is proud to support this bill and thanks Congressman Cohen and Senator Markey for their leadership on this issue.”

The legislation is also endorsed by the National Complete Streets Coalition, Center for American Progress, and the Livable Streets Alliance.

Under the Complete Streets Act:

  • States would be required to set aside five percent of their federal highway funding to create a “Complete Streets” program.

  • To access the funds, eligible entities would need to adopt a Complete Streets policy, participate in technical assistance, and create a prioritized plan for Complete Streets projects in their jurisdictions.

  • Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) would be responsible for certifying that Complete Streets policies meet minimum requirements set out by the United States Secretary of Transportation.

  • The U.S. Secretary of Transportation, States, and MPOs would be required to adopt design standards for federal surface transportation projects that provide for the safe and adequate accommodation of all users of the surface transportation network, including motorized and non-motorized users, in all phases of project planning, development, and operation.