The Getting There Together Coalition is committed to making transportation equity a reality in our community through program and project prioritization and financing in T2020. Our guiding principles have been co-created by our coalition members, and are the lens through which we consider all decisions in the T2020 process.
Historically, too many transportation investments have displaced low-income families. The Getting There Together Coalition is fighting to make sure affordable housing investments and anti-displacement policies are embedded in all transportation investments. Healthy stable families and communities are dependent on a solid roof over their head, healthy affordable foods, quality education and the ability to safely, easily and affordably get around. We’re working to ensure transportation investments do not lead to displacement, and that housing investments are aligned with existing and future transportation investments, so that getting around does not become cost prohibitive for community members who finally have a place to call home. Transportation and housing are inextricably linked, and already squeezed in our region, where low income communities and communities of color already live near the most dangerous streets, and continue to be displaced from their communities, forced to travel farther for work, school, and needed services. Creating safer, more livable streets and communities must be a key outcome of all transportation and housing investments.
Current estimates show that 400,000 people will move to the Portland metro area in the next 20 years. Without critical dollars dedicated to mass transit projects, the increase in population will further clog Portland metro area roads (with cars) and lungs (with carbon emissions from the cars) while displacing more people out of homes and affordable transportation options. Our transportation dollars need to be invested in new bus and Max lines to help people get to and from school, the store, work and social activities. The T2020 Measure must prioritize fast, frequent, and affordable transit – by building transit priority lanes and technology, increasing transit frequency, and increasing transit affordability for transit dependent riders such as youth, older adults, and those with a lower income. For people living in the greater Portland region now, and for the next generation, we need more and better transit options.
Our region is lauded for its livability, however there are numerous examples of past transportation investments that have reduced green spaces, torn through walkable communities, and directly caused forced displacement of people who called those neighborhoods home. The impacts of these historically inequitable transportation investments have fallen disproportionately on low-income communities and communities of color – a classic case of environmental injustice. The Coalition is steadfast in our commitment to listening to and raising up the voices of people who have been most historically impacted by inequitable transportation investment. Additionally, we are fighting to make sure people in the Portland Metro area have access to real-time information about the T2020 process; meaningful, community-driven input into which projects and programs are selected; and a say in who’s voice is prioritized when it comes to financing.
We envision a transportation system that centers the health of the planet and all humans accessing our streets. What does that mean? As a region, we must make transportation options safe and accessible for people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. Sidewalks must be well-lit so that people walking and using mobility devices feel safer traveling at night. We must create a public transportation system that does not allow for harassment or disproportionate enforcement or policing. We must create affordable transportation options. We must design our streets to decrease high speeds. We must make sure all aspects of the transportation system meet ADA standards. The health of our planet and our communities depends on the creation of a transportation system that is safe and accessible for ALL people.
By prioritizing racial equity and centering the needs of frontline communities, our region can realize its equity, safety, and climate goals. We are fighting for sustained funding to help make transit fast, frequent, accessible, and affordable. We are fighting to improve the reach and frequency of transit to serve areas where there are concentrations of low-income households, and to provide transit fare relief for those who need it – youth, older adults, and low income communities.
The Getting There Together Coalition is committed to building livable communities, and we mean “livable” for all — inclusive of all ages, abilities, races, incomes, and backgrounds. We envision a region in which everyone can live, work, play, pray, and thrive. It’s a region of communities where all of our neighbors have the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of our success, and where we’re united in tackling our challenges — together. By making our voices heard, we will be able to build the transportation system that allows us all to get there.
1) Prevent mass displacement and restore housing affordability.
What this means for T2020:
- T2020 investments must be situated in close proximity to existing, planned, or public affordable housing, and investments must preserve existing affordable housing through legally-binding Community Benefit Agreements, anti-displacement plans, public housing investments, and/or real estate, land, or investment trusts.
- Corridors must have appropriate land use policies and zoning in place to support new or expanded transit service, and investments must distribute transit investment on and off corridors through new and improved service regionwide.
- Agencies that own or acquire land for transportation staging purposes must enact policies that proactively support affordable housing development on public land, including but not limited to: ensure land and property acquisition, including leases, promote transit enrichment; prioritize affordable housing development on all surplus property; provide favorable sale and development terms to housing authorities, nonprofit developers and local governments; discount the sale of surplus property for affordable housing.
- Financial planning should be done in a manner which reflects the assumption that there will be no revenue from property sales.
2) Invest in new bus & MAX lines to help people get where they need to go.
What this means for T2020:
- A majority of T2020 dollars must be used on improving service reliability, service expansion and new bus lines in underserved, low-income, and communities of color, and result in significantly increased transit mode share.
- Investments must be prioritized near current and planned affordable housing, as well as in underserved, low-income, and communities of color. Investments must be responsive where the community has requested improved transit service.
- T2020 investments must not expand roadway capacity other than in support of additional public transit, through center turn lanes and safe access management techniques, active transportation, and ADA infrastructure.
- Investments must demonstrably reduce vehicle miles traveled and climate emissions to meet or exceed established regional goals for GHG reductions.
3) Ensure that transportation investments are transparent and accountable to the community.
What this means for T2020:
- T2020 corridors, projects, and programs must demonstrably deliver on community priorities, lifting up those voices historically underrepresented in decision making, as reflected through a current or planned equity analysis, public comment, and input from community-based leaders through Metro’s RTP, Climate Smart Communities, 2019 Coordinated Outreach, and similar local outreach.
- Investments that have not undergone robust and recent community involvement that includes an equity analysis, must not be included.
- T2020 investments must include stable funding secured from a progressive financing mechanism that does not cause nor exacerbate harm to low-income communities and communities of color.
- Investments cannot be based solely on polling of likely voters – this data does not reflect the priorities of the communities who rely on transit, and it does not take into account the unique position we will be in 2020 to engage a different voter profile than is captured in a “likely voter” sample.
4) Make a multimodal transportation system that is safe and accessible for people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds.
What this means for T2020:
- A majority of T2020 dollars must be used on improving transit service reliability, service expansion, and new bus lines, and result in significantly increased transit mode share.
- Investments must fully complete the regional active transportation network, including walking, bicycling, and ADA access to transit, employment centers, affordable housing, main streets, and trails to access parks and natural areas.
- Projects must be prioritized in underserved communities, low-income communities, and communities of color.
- Investments must ensure physical accessibility for people of all ages and abilities, including safe and accessible routes to transit.
- Transit stops must be designed based on community-defined safety and comfort needs for transit users.
5) Guarantee funding for programs and operations that increase access to transportation options.
What this means for T2020:
- T2020 investments must include stable funding secured from a progressive funding mechanism for transit service operation expansions, regional travel options that increase access and use of public transit, walking, biking, ride sharing, telecommuting, and Safe Routes to School programs.
- Safe Routes to School should expand in definition to comprehensively include high schools, including new transit service to reach schools currently lacking service.
- Investments must stabilize and work to eliminate transit fares through eliminating fare hikes; establishing permanent, regionwide YouthPass for all youth under 18; and seeking to support other fare relief programs that are easily accessible to the communities they serve.
- Investments must be coordinated with existing efforts to create pricing structures for roadways, freeways, and parking, and revenues from these efforts must be prioritized to transit improvements in underserved, low-income, and communities of color.