Big changes are just weeks away in Washington. The new Congress convenes on January 3, this election cycle will wind down after the Georgia Senate runoffs on January 5, and President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris take office on January 20. Under a new presidential administration and Congress, there is an opportunity for elected officials from both sides of the aisle to unite and support public transit.
The new Administration and Congress can help advance a new era for public transportation—if they work together. But we need lawmakers to first take urgent action at the start of the year to support public transportation during this time of crisis. Our nation’s public transit systems have provided an essential service during the coronavirus pandemic, and they will continue to keep bringing essential workers to the frontlines in 2021.
Three 2021 Priorities for Public Transportation
Our priorities for 2021 remain the same as in 2020. You can look back at our 2020 milestones blog to learn more about how they are carrying through to the new year.
The President Biden Factor
President-elect Joe Biden is known for his support for public transportation, especially rail. As a presidential candidate, he proposed investing $1.3 trillion in infrastructure over ten years. His plan includes fighting the costs of road congestion by expanding public transportation.
It remains to be seen if President Biden will make infrastructure and public transportation a priority in 2021. He will likely need to earn some level of Republican support, especially in the Senate. Control of the Senate will not be determined until January 5, which means the Senate runoffs in Georgia could have a significant impact on the direction of our nation’s infrastructure investments.
Biden has nominated former South Bend Mayor, Pete Buttigieg, as Secretary of Transportation. Buttigieg supports innovations in transportation to help propel our country and build modern and sustainable infrastructure that creates millions of jobs, revitalizes communities, and empowers all Americans to thrive.
Congress is also more likely to support new investments in public transportation if they hear a loud and clear message from the American people—including Voices for Public Transit. It’s critical that we keep up the pressure every step of the way in 2021. Let’s be ready to hit the ground running. Happy New Year!