December 4 was a milestone for American public transit—and our nation’s entire transportation system.
For the first time in nearly a decade, Congress passed a long-term transportation bill—the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act or “FAST Act.” President Obama signed the bill into law just hours before current authorization of transportation programs expired.
Voices for Public Transit advocates helped break the impasse in Washington. We made it clear that the status quo was unacceptable. The steady escalation of communications from the Voices for Public Transit community over several months made fixing public transportation an issue that Congress could no longer ignore.
After 36 short-term fixes over the past six years, the FAST Act provides a five-year, $305 billion investment in our nation’s transportation infrastructure, including an 18 percent increase in funding for public transportation. This is what Voices for Public Transit has been fighting for over the past two years—and our victory is in large part due to your tireless efforts.
First, Voices for Public Transit advocates should celebrate. You worked hard, overcame obstacles, and won a big victory. We’ll be holding the official celebration in January, when Congress comes back to work after the holidays. But that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate now as well.
This victory is a critical milestone, but it is just the first step on the journey to transforming public transportation in America. Our community will also need to ensure that the funding allocated by the FAST Act is used in the best way possible, and that means advocating for state and local support of public transportation projects.
Voices for Public Transit will also be active in the 2016 elections. We’ll be listening to hear where candidates stand on improving American public transportation, and we’ll help our community bring public transportation initiatives to success at the ballot box.
Wishing You a Happy Holiday Season—and a Nice Break from Advocating
We have more to do, but we know we’ve asked a lot of you over the past few months. So, for now, we hope you’ll sit back, relax, and have a wonderful holiday season. As always, thank you to all of our supporters who have helped us reach this critical milestone. Travel safely wherever the holidays may take you, and use public transit when you can!