Transportation for America Launches Legislative Campaign

T4_Build_for_America_Plan_Final.jpgToday marks the start of Transportation for America‘s
"Build for America" campaign, which will work to influence the
transportation funding legislation that goes before the next Congress
in 2009. (You’ll be hearing a lot more about it here in the coming
months; we have received a grant from the T4America campaign to
kick-start the development of Streetsblog.net, a national
network of transportation policy bloggers.) It’s a major effort to
fundamentally change the way this country thinks about and finances
transportation infrastructure — at the same time creating jobs,
reducing dependence on fossil fuels, and helping the environment.
Download a PDF of the plan here.

Yesterday,
Shelley Poticha, Transportation for America’s co-chair, was joined by
Gov. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania and others in a telephone briefing for
reporters. She said the campaign aimed to challenge Congress to "adopt
a bold new agenda" by shifting emphasis away from building new roads
and onto expanding mass transit, maintaining existing roads and
bridges, and focusing on sustainable development. "We need to invest in
infrastructure that will get our economy moving," said Poticha.

The campaign’s five-point plan calls for Congress and the next president to:

  • Build
    rail and transit networks that are competitive with those in China and
    Europe, reducing oil dependence and connecting metro regions.
  • Invest in "the cleanest forms of transportation — modern public transit, walking and biking."
  • Adopt a "fix-it-first" policy to repair crumbling roads and bridges rather than building new ones.
  • Stop wasteful spending and re-evaluate projects that have already been approved.
  • "Save Americans money" by providing them with cost-efficient, sustainable transportation options where they live and work.

Asked
about the political will to increase federal funding for mass transit
in the current atmosphere of economic crisis, Gov. Rendell acknowledged
it would not be easy. "Is there an appetite for it?" he said. "I’m not
sure there is. Raising revenue is always difficult….We have to build
the appetite. The movement has to start in the hometowns and move to
Washington."

"Build for America" officially kicks off today
with events in New York, Madison (WI), Chicago, Phoenix, San Francisco
and Seattle.

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