In recognition of Earth Day, the Getting There Together Coalition, in partnership with 40 elected leaders, transit, environmental, housing, and community organizations across the state, sent a letter to the Oregon Congressional Delegation urging them to increase federal investments in public transit “so that all Americans have access to high-quality, safe, affordable, and reliable public transit service and transit-friendly communities.”
“Reinventing the future of public transit infrastructure is key to tackling climate change,” the letter reads. “Over 28% of greenhouse gases in the U.S. come from transportation—and in Oregon it is more than 40%—making it the largest contributor of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Now is the time to invest in the public transit infrastructure for the future.”
The pandemic dramatically showed that transit is essential to our communities, local economies and the lives of millions of people across the country. Essential workers depend on transit, small businesses depend on transit, people with disabilities depend on accessible transit, historically marginalized communities depend on transit.
- Transit is an economic engine.
- Transit is a vehicle for racial equity.
- Transit cools the planet.
Organized by the National Campaign for Transit Justice and the Getting There Together coalition in Oregon, the groups call for Congress to invest $60 billion annually in public transit, including $20 billion in new spending on operations to pay for the additional drivers and new buses needed to expand service to additional communities, as well as funding for new zero-emissions fleets.
The American Jobs Plan introduced recently by President Joe Biden includes $85 billion in investments for public transit over 10 years, but doesn’t explicitly call for a boost in funding for transit operations.
“President Joe Biden has called for the country to build back better. We can’t build back better without robust investment in public transit infrastructure and operations… Public transit is the foundation of our communities and the economy. It must also be the scaffolding for the new economy we create,” the letter continues.
Read the full letter (PDF).