WASHINGTON, D.C. — Transportation for America Director James Corless issued the following statement in response to the Senate’s adoption of MAP-21, the authorization of the federal transportation program, by a strong bipartisan vote of 74-22:
“The Senate today has done the nation a great service in overcoming partisan gridlock to help Americans avoid literal gridlock. On behalf of Transportation for America, I want to express our gratitude to the many senators on both sides of the aisle who listened to each other and to the American public in crafting a bill that makes important policy strides even as it maintains funding levels necessary to preserve and expand our transportation infrastructure.
MAP-21 makes several key reforms:
• for the first time, establishes national policy goals and performance measures for the federal surface transportation program, such as addressing congestion, improving access to multiple travel options, supporting domestic manufacturing, and reducing impacts on the environment and adjacent communities;
• consolidates programs and streamlines project delivery, while maintaining existing funding levels;
• holds states accountable for the safe upkeep of our roads and bridges;
• maintains local control over a share of funds and ensures access funding for safer walking and bicycling;
• includes emergency provisions to allow transit agencies to avoid service cuts and fare hikes;
• extends the commuter benefit for transit users, commensurate with parking benefits for drivers;
• helps communities make plans to meet the growing demand for walkable neighborhoods with access to jobs, services and public transportation; and
• ensures that federal funds streets that are safe and complete for everyone who uses them, whether motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, wheelchair users or transit riders.
While there are still additional reforms that could improve the overall program, we have to commend the Senate for doing its part, and in so doing has created a road map for transportation policy that can win bipartisan support. Now the House must act in similar fashion to ensure that this critical federal program does not lapse, even as the spring construction season begins. By following the Senate’s lead, House leaders can craft a bill that serves all Americans and put the federal program on a solid footing once again.”