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RELEASE: Auchincloss Leads 17 Members Urging DeFazio to Fund Innovative, On-Demand Public Transit

May 25, 2021

 

Auchincloss Leads 17 Members Urging DeFazio to Fund Innovative, On-Demand Public Transit

“We urge you to invest in accessible, on-demand public transit to advance equity, increase economic and social mobility, and help combat the climate crisis.”

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Congressman Jake Auchincloss (D, MA-04), a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, is leading a letter of 17 colleagues to Chairman DeFazio urging him to include funding for on-demand public transit (also referred to as “microtransit”) in the House’s transportation bill. 

“To make public transportation more accessible for all, the need for more transit options is clear,” said Rep. Auchincloss, “increased access to jobs and economic opportunities, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, a new mobility option for those with disabilities and the elderly, and a public transportation service that is adaptable and resilient in a time of crisis.”

Representatives Donald S. Beyer Jr. (D-VA), Cheri Bustos (D-IL), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Judy Chu (D-CA), David Cicilline (D-RI), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Jim Cooper (D-TN), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Kaiali’i Kahele (D-HI), Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA), Doris Matsui (D-CA),  A. Donald McEachin (D-VA), James P. McGovern (D-MA), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Terri A. Sewell (D-AL), and Dina Titus (D-NV) also signed onto the letter. 

See the full letter below.

 


 

May 24, 2021

 

The Honorable Peter DeFazio

Chairman

Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515

 

Dear Chairman DeFazio: 

Thank you for your leadership on developing a transportation bill that will help our nation address deep economic mobility challenges, the climate change crisis, and disparities in racial equity. We are particularly excited about the prospect of dramatically expanding and improving access and mobility. We believe that an important part of this effort is the deployment of on-demand public transit (also referred to as “microtransit”) by transit agencies and cities. 

Today, more and more transit agencies and municipal governments across the country are looking at using on-demand public transit to provide critical connections to preexisting transit hubs and to fill so-called “transit desert” gaps, often in historically underserved areas. The benefits of these demonstrations are clear: increased access to jobs and economic opportunities, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, a new mobility option for those with disabilities and the elderly, and a public transportation service that is adaptable and resilient in a time of crisis. 

Unfortunately, it is often difficult or impossible for many looking to address issues of access and mobility to directly access federal funding. We believe Committee should address this in the reauthorization of the FAST Act by including language which to invest in transit innovations. At the same time, supporting new forms of public transportation should never come at the expense of important labor and accessibility protections. With this in mind, we request a program that: 

  • Creates a significant and dedicated funding program within FTA that provides transit agencies and municipal governments support for transit innovations such as microtransit, on-demand paratransit, and integrated mobility services. 

  • Supports desired policy outcomes by directing funding to new or expanded services that advance equity, economic mobility, and environmental goals. 

  • Protects and supports labor by meeting or exceeding the standard set out by President Biden recently in his American Jobs Act plan that Congress should “require transportation investments to meet existing transit labor protections.” We agree with this standard and stand ready to work on any additional measures to ensure there are strong labor protections. 

  • Goes beyond demonstrations and creates a pathway to sustainable funding by allowing for multi-year grants and access to formula funding for projects that prove successful. 

  • Increases accessibility by requiring that any service funded under this program be accessible to everyone, with ADA-compliant vehicles in the fleet, the ability to call for a ride for those who do not use smartphones, and payment options for those without credit cards. 

  • Ensures all communities can compete by allowing any transit agency, state, or local government to apply, by requiring that at least 20% of funds go to rural areas, and by providing an 80% federal match. 

  • Provides important data to the public sector by requiring regular and robust data sharing for any public/private partnership. We urge you to invest in accessible, on-demand public transit to advance equity, increase economic and social mobility, and help combat the climate crisis. 

 

Sincerely, 

Jake Auchincloss 

Member of Congress 


 

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