In light of the COVID-19 crisis, we are called to re-center what our communities need most and how as leaders, decision makers and advocates, we can support a recovery that is equitable, affordable, and reparative. With the region’s racial equity goals in mind, it is essential to recognize that COVID-19 and the surrounding crisis has not impacted all communities equally, and Black, Indigenous, and Communities of Color are more acutely affected by this crisis because of historic, existing, and ongoing inequities.
More than ever before, it is all of our duty to scrutinize the projects and programs in the regional transportation investment measure to ensure only those move forward that will create good, family-sustaining jobs; counter systemic inequities in transportation accessibility; and tackle the climate crisis that is compounding threats to our economy and health. As we move through this crisis, we are working together with our communities, and we continue to lift up our shared values to use them as a guide for what comes next.
Below, we outline what we have been hearing our community calling for from their leaders during this crisis. In the finalization of the transportation package, their concerns must be addressed:
- Community stability and Anti-displacement – People need to know how local businesses will be supported, what tools will be included to build greater community resiliency, and what specific anti-displacement strategies will be included.
- Economics – People are concerned that any “economic stimulus” framing of the measure will bypass them, and as has happened in the past, will not benefit Black, Indigenous, and Communities of Color.
- Transit support – Transit riders are deeply concerned about the future of transit, want to make sure the transit system will be maintained so they can get around, and are calling for regional leadership to articulate an intentional plan to safeguard transit.
- Financing Mechanism – People are increasingly concerned that a regressive tax mechanism for the measure will burden them further during a recession.
- Values and Goals – Many people have voiced that they feel the measure is not bold enough on transit, climate, or racial equity to garner community support.