Advocates for better, green transportation achieved great success this year with a transportation bill in the House of Representatives that could change the United States forever. Not only advocates have brought this to where it is, though. The general public, the US Chamber of Commerce, AAA, the AFL-CIO, Associated General Contractors of America, and others have brought it to where it is today. This progressive bill would reverse auto-centric federal transportation policies that have led the US into various environmental, social and economic crises for the past several decades.
Unfortunately, delay due to lawmakers’ inability to come to a consensus and the Obama administration’s reluctancy to increase gas prices at this time (which are much lower, in real terms, than they were 54 years ago) may postpone the bill for another 18 months. However, there is opportunity to take action!
Transportation bills in the US generally last for six years. In the past several decades, the bills have been reflections of their predecessor. After two or more years of serious education and action to promote a transformative bill that would balance auto-oriented funding with rail-, transit- and people-oriented funding, legislators responded. The new $450 billion bill proposal is written to provide $99.8 billion for public transportation programs. This would be 90% higher than in the previous bill.
This bill could be exactly what is needed to address various environmental concerns of today.
Inaction on this bill not only hurts green transportation advocates, however. As the Wall Street Journal reports, “state governments, transit agencies and construction companies hoping for a big boost in funding” will suffer from this hesitancy. William Millar, president of the American Public Transportation Association, says: “If we don’t have the long-term bill…it will undo much of the good that the stimulus package has done.”
The gas tax traditionally provides the key funding for transportation bills. Legislators and the President are frightened to consider raising the gas tax in the near future. Due to this, the bill is “stuck in traffic” and instead of creating this new transportation future, the previous, regressive transportation bill will have to be renewed for an extra 18 months. There is opportunity to have an influence on this, though, and to help create a bright, green transportation future. The National Alliance of Public Transportation Advocates asks you to take action and contact your Senators today — it takes approximately 30 seconds. Go to their take action page today to make your voice heard.
You can help to create a transportation future where you are not tied to your car. Help to push Congress to take action now.
Image credit: janoimagine via flickr under a Creative Commons license