Join the Movement

Members of Voices for Public Transit know public transportation benefits everyone. We’re keeping it moving.

Join the Movement

Members of Voices for Public Transit know public transportation benefits everyone. We’re keeping it moving.

Voices For Transit

We All Benefit

Whether you ride or not, public transportation benefits all of us. It reduces pollution, eases traffic congestion, and helps our communities thrive. In cities, suburbs, and rural America, public transit provides vital connections to jobs, education, medical care, and our larger communities. Help us keep America moving.

  • End Game: Will Congress Pass Increased Public Transit Funding?

    Select members of the House and Senate—and their staffs—are working to hammer out a compromise between the two chambers’ versions of a long-term transportation bill.

    Negotiators couldn’t quite meet a deadline before Thanksgiving, so Congress passed one more very short-term extension for our nation’s transportation system. The new deadline is Friday, December 4.

    Though we may be nearing the end of a years-long process, many decisions remain in flux. The key question for Voices for Public Transit and other transportation advocates is this:

    Will the final bill include increased funding for public transportation?

    Even at this late point in the process, the answer to this fundamental question remains uncertain. Of the options being considered by negotiators, we believe the best path forward is a fully funded five-year transportation bill that includes increased funding for public transit.

    Week of Action

    After Thanksgiving recess, Congress will return to work on November 30—and Voices for Public Transit will be engaging in a week of action.

    Each day leading up to the December 4 deadline, our community will be raising our voices to deliver this core message: Congress needs to pass a fully funded transportation bill that makes a substantial investment in public transportation. Simply maintaining the status quo is not sufficient.

    We wish our entire community a happy and safe Thanksgiving. Hopefully, we can celebrate again when Congress completes its work on a long-term transportation bill.
  • House Passes Long-Term Transportation Bill

    On Thursday, November 5, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a long-term, bipartisan transportation bill—the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform (STRR) Act of 2015—by a margin of 363 – 64. The House and Senate have now both passed their versions of long-term transportation legislation—now the real work begins.

    Immediately afterwards, the House voted to go to a Conference Committee with the Senate, where both chambers will reconcile the differences between their respective bills. While details of the House-passed bill are still emerging, here’s what we know so far:

    • The bill includes nearly $340 billion of funding for “transportation and infrastructure programs to address the nation’s deteriorating roads and bridges.

    • The Senate bill only provides funding for the first three years. While the House version likely funds all six years of their plan, both bills fall short of APTA’s proposed funding levels.

    • Congress has until November 20 to pass a final bill. With the House only in session for one week between now and then, there is a chance we will see another short-term extension this year.

    It’s definitely good news that the House has moved forward with a multi-year transportation bill. And we couldn’t have gotten this far without the hard work and dedication of all our Voices for Public Transit members—so thank you for all your efforts over the past several months!

    However, Voices for Public Transit believes we need even more funding for public transit. Maintaining our current public transit infrastructure isn’t enough—we need to strengthen and expand public transit in communities nationwide. That’s why it’s so important for us to make our voices heard in the next two weeks to ensure Congress funds public transit at the highest possible level.

    We have a small window of opportunity to influence our legislators to ensure they fund public transit to the fullest possible extent. Take two minutes today to call on Congress to increase investment in public transit.

    Stay tuned—you’ll be hearing from us a lot over the next two weeks. And with your help, we will get a good, long-term transportation bill with increased investment in public transit passed this year.

  • This Short-term Extension Could Be the Last

    On October 27 and 28, respectively, the U.S. House and Senate both passed three-week extension of the current Highway Transportation Fund authorization, giving themselves until November 20 to iron out the differences in their respective versions of a three-year, comprehensive bill and send a final bill to President Obama for his signature before the end of November.

    Where Things Stand Now

    On October 22, by a unanimous vote, the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved multi-year transportation legislation, the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015 (STRR Act; H.R. 3763). The legislation is now awaiting a full House vote, which we anticipate will happen by early the first week of November. Similar to the Senate bill passed earlier this summer, the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy Act (DRIVE Act; S. 1647), the House bill provides three years of funding, with the possibility of extending for another three years if Congress can find additional funding.

    The House bill is not an ideal solution because it does not meaningfully increase the federal investment in public transportation, and it does not give public transit equal priority with other forms of transportation. Nonetheless, this recent House action represents a key step forward, as the House and Senate can now work to iron out the differences between the two bills and pass a comprehensive transportation bill this year.

    Funding for the long-term bills remains a sticking point that will have to be hammered out during negotiations between the House and Senate.

    What We’ll Be Looking for in Final Negotiations

    As the legislation moves to final negotiations, Voices for Public Transit will be calling on Members of Congress to ensure two key things happen:

    • Public transportation is funded at the highest possible levels (at least as high as outlined in the Senate bill).
    • Public transportation is treated equally with other forms of transportation when it comes to how much the federal government will contribute to local infrastructure projects.

    We know it’s been a long road so far, but we are incredibly hopeful that all the effort you’ve put in over the past several months will be worth it as Congress is closer than ever before to passing comprehensive transportation legislation. After all, we’ve reached this point—perhaps the last mile of a very long journey—thanks to all of the hard work of the Voices for Public Transit community. We’ll keep you posted about progress on Capitol Hill. Please keep raising your voices to push long-term legislation over the finish line.

  • Public Transit Helps Seniors Get Around

    A guest post from Carol B., Voices for Public Transit member in Pennsylvania

    As a senior citizen who relies on public transit to get around my hometown of Philadelphia, it is very important to me that buses and trains remain accessible and affordable.

    For over 20 years, I have ridden the city buses and the el train on the SEPTA system; in fact, there are two bus lines that stop right in front of my apartment building. I work from home as a digital journalist and use public transit when I have errands to run or events to attend.

    The Benefits of Public Transportation

    Middle class people like me cannot always afford to have a car or pay for daily parking in the city if they do own one. People from all walks of life rely on public transit to get them to work, school, and around town on errands, but mainly, it is middle-class people who rely on it the most.

    One of the wonderful things about public transit in Philadelphia is that senior citizens can ride for free, on an unlimited basis. This program is funded by the state lottery. Now that I am in that age group, I take full advantage of this perk and tout its benefits. As someone who often rides trains and buses alone, I also appreciate that the public transit system in Philadelphia has always been safe for me.

    What Needs to Change

    It is important for legislators to understand that thousands of people around Philadelphia, and millions of people in this country, rely on public transit every day. Public transportation funding and maintenance should be a high-level priority for our legislators. It’s high time that this topic gets the attention it deserves.

  • Top 10 Reasons for Congress to Increase Our Nation’s Investment in Public Transportation

    Sometimes, Congress works—or doesn’t work—in mysterious ways. Take public transportation funding, for example. For more than six years, Congress has been unable to pass a long-term transportation bill with increased funding for public transportation.

    There are many, many reasons for Congress to increase federal support for public transportation. Below, we share our top 10 reasons why Congress should move forward and pass a bill that increases America’s investment in public transportation.

    We support an increased investment in public transportation because it…

    1. Serves all constituents — Public transportation is a cornerstone of America’s multi-modal transportation network, which also includes roads, bridges, and ports. We all need to be mobile—and even if you don’t use public transit, you still benefit from less traffic, less air pollution, and improved transportation of goods.
    2. Anticipates the growth of our nation — In a few decades, America will exceed 400 million people. We cannot simply add more roads to keep people moving. Shared, public transportation must be part of the solution as well.
    3. Fulfills Congress’s historical and Constitutional responsibilities — Throughout American history, the federal government has supported transportation systems for all of our use.
    4. Fosters job growth — 73 percent of funds for public transportation create and support private-sector jobs. In addition, public transportation lines and hubs draw further investment, which leads to additional job growth.
    5. Pays off in the form of economic development — People increasingly want to live and work near public transportation—and businesses want public transportation to be an option for their employees. This means that investment and opportunity emerge alongside public transit projects.
    6. Helps disadvantaged Americans — A lot of people have transportation options, but for millions of Americans who cannot drive due to age, disability, or poverty, public transit is the only option for mobility.
    7. Improves overall transportation safety — Compared to transportation by private car, public transit has fewer accidents that result in injury or death. A greater investment in public transit will make this safer form of travel available to more Americans.
    8. Helps limit air pollution — By taking cars off the road, public transit helps reduce air pollution. In addition, many public transit vehicles are electrified or use alternative fuels, which also helps our environment. Cleaner air, of course, benefits everybody.
    9. Reduces road congestion — Traffic congestion is already bad in cities of all sizes, and even in suburbs and smaller towns. Using public transit, more people can travel on less road space. Investing in expanded public transit will help ease road congestion—or at least slow the pace at which traffic worsens.
    10. Exemplifies bipartisanship and stands as an accomplishment going into an election year — Congress should seize the opportunity to show that it can unite on behalf of the American people by passing a long-term transportation bill that benefits everybody.

    Share with Others—and with Congress

    Do you agree with this list of reasons for Congress to support an increased investment in public transportation? Do you have other ideas? Share what you think by commenting on Public Transportation’s Facebook page or letting us know on Twitter by using the #Voices4Transit hashtag.

    Members of Congress and their staff also pay attention to what’s happening on social media. Post your favorite reasons on the Facebook timeline of your members of Congress or tweet @ your member. (You can search for their Twitter handles right from Twitter’s home page or look at C-SPAN’s list.)

  • Advocate spotlight

    Laura W.

    Laura is retired and uses DART to get downtown when she has an errand or event in the area.

    Read More

  • Share Your Experience

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