The Senate Banking committee, led by Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL), on Thursday considered and passed the public transportation title of the reauthorization of the national surface transportation program. In stark contrast to the House committees who also held hearings this week, the Senate Banking committee worked hard to achieve bipartisan agreement on their portion of the transportation bill, continuing the constructive efforts in the Senate to advance transportation policies that meet the needs of America’s economy, environment, and communities.
While California has no representation on this committee, the policies of the public transportation title have significant impacts on mobility for our state’s metro region and rural communities alike.
James Corless, director of Transportation for America, offered this statement in response:
“We commend Chairman Johnson and Ranking Member Shelby for their leadership in adopting a bipartisan transit title that will ensure that Americans continue to receive reliable service, and that more of us will have that option in the future.
The bill will help many people in the near term, by allowing transit providers of all sizes to use a portion of their formula grants on an emergency basis to keep vital services in place during this fiscal, and future, fiscal crises. With expanded funding, the Banking measure will ensure that the disabled and older Americans — as their numbers grow rapidly — will have options that help maintain their independence. Banking members also provided for more streamlined and coordinated service delivery for seniors, the disabled and more rural residents.
The bill will help communities across the country meet the growing demand for walkable neighborhoods with access to jobs, services and public transportation, through a program to support transit-oriented development. Increased funding for public transportation on Indian reservations will help some of the most poverty-stricken Americans reach vital jobs and services.
We look forward to working with the chairman, ranking member and other members of Congress to preserve and strengthen the bill’s provision as it moves to the Senate floor along with other, bipartisan components of the Senate authorization.”