In 2017, a small group of leaders from community-based organizations penned a letter asking the region’s transportation leaders to think boldly and more equitably in the ways we invest in transportation for our region — and with it, the Getting There Together Coalition was born.
We know our region is stronger when we all have options for safe, quality, affordable housing with access to jobs, school, services and amenities to help preserve our region’s economic competitiveness and quality of life. In addition to maintaining existing roadways and providing access for freight movement and to population areas, the region’s governments must invest in safe and high-quality facilities throughout the region for people who walk, use transit, and ride a bicycle — in short, for everyone.
This small but mighty group of housing, land use, youth, older adults, environment, and transportation justice advocates caught the attention of those traditionally in positions of power to craft transportation investments. They could not ignore the thousands of community members we represented across the region, who struggle to remain in their homes as housing costs increase, cannot reach their jobs by transit, and are unable to live the quality of life promised to them by their elected officials, because our roads are unsafe and they cannot access essential destinations in their community without reliance on a private car.
The concerns of 2017 have not been addressed and in many ways are more prevalent than ever, but in the intervening years the Coalition kept track of the process for regional transportation investment, and built a bigger, stronger, region-wide coalition that encompasses housing, affordability, health, justice, disability, immigrant, labor, and business needs for transportation. Together, we supported the creation of a robust regional bond measure and funding package that will benefit all residents and will be supported by the region’s voters.
That letter from three years ago was a catalyst that helped radically change the way our region prioritizes transportation investments, particularly whose voice is heard in crafting transportation investments. In 2019, when Metro Regional Government embarked on a multi-year public engagement and planning process, we were there. As a Coalition, we took the time and strategies necessary to really ensure that the measure did not just reflect the priorities of local elected officials or moneyed executives, but rather the communities that interact with our transportation system on a daily basis.
The Getting There Together Coalition has now grown to 60+ member organizations. In 2020, we tracked, analyzed, and participated in Metro’s process to put together a package of transportation investments and conducted our own original analysis of the package elements, strategically bringing together partners and mobilizing public comment when it mattered most. Through these actions and strong partnerships in community, we have been able to make meaningful progress on many of the things we set out to do three years ago — from gains in safety and transit investments, to affordable housing, community benefits, and workforce protections, plus the undeniable win of a region-wide YouthPass. People across the region who use some of the region’s most dangerous roadways are now poised to see real safety and transit improvements that will make a difference in the safety, affordability, and transportation options in their everyday lives.
Looking ahead, we are proud to support the Get Moving regional transportation measure, and will continue to stand strong with our community partners and to listen to and elevate voices that for too long have been unheard in transportation decisions. Changes are on the horizon, and we are Getting There Together.
Read our full letter from 2017.