Thursday, Apr 21, 2021
To: The Florida Congressional Delegation of The United States of America
Dear Honorable Representatives of Congress,
The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear that public transit is essential to the continued survival of our local economies and prosperity of millions of Americans. Essential workers, small businesses and historically marginalized communities all depend on public transit. Your support for increasing funding to public transit will not only immediately protect the communities and economies that depend on it, but will serve as a critical investment in the future of mobility in Miami-Dade County and South Florida.
Transit is an economic engine. Tens of millions of people in the U.S. rely on public transit to get to work every day, generating trillions of dollars in economic activity. Every dollar invested in transit offers a five-to-one return and every $1 billion invested produces 49,700 jobs. Transit agencies are also often among the largest employers in their cities.
Transit is a vehicle for socioeconomic equity. Investing in public transit is also an investment in social equality because it is essential to the economic well-being of our most marginalized communities. Yet over the past several decades, the federal investment in transportation has consistently neglected public transit, which has excluded millions of Americans from reliable transportation and created unnecessary barriers to accessing education and jobs – barriers that your support for increased federal investment in public transit can immediately remove.
Transit is the future of mobility. As local governments strive to become more efficient and introduce innovative solutions to reduce our emissions and ease traffic congestion, public transit and transit oriented development have been key to driving our cities into the future. Our nation’s great cities need world class public transit systems to complete on the global stage. Transit is a powerful tool to make our cities more efficient, drive innovation, and bolster local economies.
For all these reasons, we urge you to pass a Surface Transportation Reauthorization that puts our transportation priorities in balance. We’re asking for your support to increase funding for transit to the same level as highways, and to make the necessary investments so that all Americans have access to high quality, safe, affordable, and reliable public transit service and transit-friendly communities.
We ask that these new investments include:
- Allocating $20 billion in annual funding for transit operations to ensure the majority of Americans are within walking distance of frequent transit service by 2030. Operating support should be a federal match to local sources of revenue and connected to ridership to incentivize better networks with more frequent service.
- Establish a $12 billion annual capital investments program, with $6 billion allocated by formula and $6 billion allocated through discretionary grants for capital projects that improve access to frequent transit for low income people. The existing capital expansion program — Capital Investment Grants (CIG) — is over-subscribed, providing about $2 billion annually despite the $23 billion worth of projects in the pipeline.
- Provide $18 billion for maintenance annually with a goal of reducing deferred maintenance and eliminating the national repair backlog in 12 years.
- Provide $7 billion to fund equitable Transit-Oriented Development (eTOD) to fund and integrate preservation of affordable housing, increasing affordable housing near transit, and access to safer streets to walk and bike on.
- Require that the Bus and Bus Facilities program be used exclusively to procure zero-emission vehicles and the infrastructure needed to support them. Congress should also significantly increase funding for the program to meet the demand and support a transition to 100 percent zero emission fleets.
- Reform federal highway programs to require roads to be designed with safety as a priority, particularly for vulnerable road users like cyclists and pedestrians.
- All transit workers should receive prevailing wages and receive hazard pay when appropriate. In addition, guidelines should reflect the prioritization of diversity, equity and inclusion in hiring and promotion at local transit agencies.
We look forward to working with you as you shape transportation reauthorization legislation.
Community Justice Project
Family Action Network Movement
Miami Climate Alliance
Miami Homes for All
Miami Workers Center
The CLEO Institute
The Miami Foundation