May 13, 2021

VIDEO: Auchincloss: “We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to provide mobility for all Americans”


VIDEO: Auchincloss: “We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to provide mobility for all Americans”

Washington, D.C. - Today, Congressman Jake Auchincloss (D, MA-04) outlined his priorities for the fourth district in the upcoming transportation bill during a speech on the House floor. A member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Auchincloss recently sent a letter to Chairman DeFazio highlighting the initiatives he’ll be fighting for in the bill’s passage, including increased funding for transportation alternatives and innovative transit options. Video and transcript of Auchincloss’ floor speech can be found below and a full copy of the letter Auchincloss sent to Chairman DeFazio can be found below and attached. 


Remarks As Delivered: 

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of investing in our infrastructure with bold strokes and smart policy. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to provide mobility for all Americans. We must harness it.

Making our economy more sustainable, productive and fair means upgrading the way people from all backgrounds and zip codes access jobs, goods, and services. As a member of the Transportation & infrastructure Committee, I am working with my colleagues to expand access to reliable and convenient buses, provide grants for on-demand transit to fill “transit deserts,” and build Complete Streets that ensure pedestrian safety, encourage the use of bicycles and other micromobility with protected lanes, and improve the handling of stormwater.

Transportation is about bridges and ports and roads, yes – but it must foundationally be connecting people to jobs and services, across all modalities. I look forward to advancing these priorities in forthcoming legislation. I yield back.

Letter to Chairman DeFazio: 

Dear Chairman DeFazio, 

Thank you for the opportunity to provide input on the forthcoming surface transportation reauthorization bill. I look forward to working with you as a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to revive our crumbling roads and bridges, boost our local economies and help our communities become more livable and affordable.

As we work to craft the reauthorization bill, I urge you to consider the following priorities for my district, MA-04:

Adopt Transportation for America’s Policy Posture

·         Fund transit at parity with highways, rather than devoting 80 percent of federal transportation funding toward highways and 20 percent toward public transit.

·         Prioritize roadway maintenance before building new capacity.

·         Require USDOT to collect data on how well the transportation system connects people to jobs and services and prioritize projects that best achieve this objective.

·         Direct states to measure and reduce transportation emissions.

·         Improve safety for those who reside and work in low-income communities and communities of color, recognizing that the current transportation system systematically excludes underserved communities.

·         Prioritize the safety of all road users, including bicyclers and pedestrians, over vehicle speed.

·         Improve rail service by providing meaningful, multi-year capital investment, ensuring on-time service, and expanding access to innovative operating funds with dedicated funding for long-term support.


Promote Mobility-as-a-Service in Federal Policy

·         Expand on-demand, public transit to provide critical connections to preexisting transit hubs and fill so-called “transit deserts,” especially in historically underserved areas:

o   Dedicate funding for on-demand transit and other transit innovations that focus on immediately increasing access to jobs and other opportunities, in particular for underserved communities, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

o   Fund new services, as well as the expansion of already successful deployments, and include a bridge to sustainable funding for projects that are successful.

o   Include strong labor protections and requirements that every deployment be made accessible to all people.

·         Amend Titles 23 and 49 to make shared micromobility eligible for applicable programs:

o   Define “shared micromobility” as the shared use of a micromobility device, including a bicycle, electric scooter, or other low-speed mode, that provides travelers with short-term access on an as-needed basis.

o   Make shared micromobility operators eligible for mitigation and air quality improvement programs.

o   Allow congestion mitigation project funds to be used for construction of shared-micro mobility transportation facilities, including charging stations.

o   Ensure federal policy does not prohibit the use of micromobility devices on trails and pedestrian walkways if state/local regulations permit.

o   Ensure national priority safety programs can be used to reduce micromobility fatalities and injuries (alongside pedestrian and bicycle fatalities and injuries).

o   Make Community Climate Innovation Grants available for micromobility projects.

·         Reinstate the Value Pricing Pilot Program & the Interstate System Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Pilot Program.


Increase Funding for Transportation Alternatives and Innovative Transit Options

·         Include the Transportation Alternatives Enhancement Act, which doubles to $1.3B the funding for local transportation projects, including safe routes to school, pedestrian safety and access to transit, bicycle facilities and infrastructure, environmental mitigation, and more.

·         Prioritize policies proposed by the Bicycle Commuter Act; Bikeshare Transit Act; E-BIKE Act; Community Climate Innovation Grant; Carbon Pollution Reduction program; and Nonmotorized Safety Grant Program, 23 USC §405(h). Expand to include all light electric vehicles, both shared and owned, broadly defined to include existing modes (scooters, e-bikes, mopeds) but also emerging technologies.


Build on the “Complete Streets” Model:

·         Focus on curb access, particularly for shared vehicles and micromobility, to prioritize higher person/curb access.

·         Encourage a transition from personally owned vehicles.

o   Incentivize individuals to sell personally owned vehicles by expanding access to shared mobility operators and providing tax deductions to consumers who invest in sustainable mobility options, such as shared vehicle fleets.

o   Restore tax deductibility for transit but continue to tax the value of parking provided to employees.

o   Improve oversight of employers who offer free parking to employees to ensure they pay taxes on these costs, in accordance with the 2018 tax bill.

·         Incorporate key elements of the SAFE Streets Act, which would create a special rule for the Highway Safety Improvement Program to improve safety for vulnerable road users.


Thank you for your consideration of these priorities.