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Editing:T4A_2015_0604 Newsletter #18 House THUD Cuts Editing:T4A_2015_0604 Newsletter #18 House THUD Cuts

Editing:T4A_2015_0604 Newsletter #18 House THUD Cuts
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News from Transportation for America
June 4, 2015
U.S. HOUSE POISED TO CUT TRANSIT CONSTRUCTION, PASSENGER RAIL AND TIGER GRANTS
After late night debate, House delays vote on final passage to Tuesday

This morning, the U.S. House of Representatives postponed final votes on the yearly spending bill for transportation to June 9, delaying consideration of a bill that will make deep cuts to programs that local cities and towns across the country depend on.  With this extra time before the final vote, we want to make sure they continue hearing that communities big and small, urban and rural, all support these critical programs, so send a message to your representatives.

With ridership higher than ever and with states and regions looking to expand service (see first news story below), the House bill cuts Amtrak funding by $250 million. At a time when public transportation ridership is booming and cities of all sizes (see our Indianapolis profile, 4th item below) are looking to invest in new bus and rail transit projects to stay economically competitive, the House plans to cut funding for the FTA New and Small Starts Capital Improvement transit program by $200 million. And six rounds into the popular TIGER program that has funded innovative projects in communities of all sizes in 50 states — and in districts both red and blue — the House will be voting to slash the program by 80 percent to just $100 million next year.

The heavy cuts to TIGER are especially alarming for the hundreds of cities and towns that have benefited from them. The $3 billion-plus invested in TIGER since 2010 has leveraged 3.5 non-federal dollars to the table for every dollar of TIGER funding. As T4America’s map of TIGER winners above shows, communities representing hundreds of congressional districts have won grants over the last five years. Many members likely to support the cuts to TIGER have even written letters of support for TIGER applicants in their districts and done their best to help projects in their communities win funding. 

We’ve got just a few days now. Send a message to your representatives and urge them not to cut funding for these critical programs.

Already sent a letter? Click through to the form and make a quick phone call with the number provided for your representative. Check the T4 blog later today and this week for details on some damaging amendments that were considered yesterday and today.

Send a letter
Other recent news
Yankee efficiency paired with southern hospitality is one recipe for successful passenger rail

T4A’s Chair John Robert Smith and members of the Southern Rail Commission took a trip northward to find inspiration for the South’s ambitious efforts to expand passenger rail service. Y’all aboard!

Healthy economies need healthy people—Nashville leads the way for other regions 

Representatives from five regions gathered to learn how providing better transportation infrastructure and building more walkable communities can help improve residents’ health — and boost local economic prosperity. Read more.

As states close out legislative sessions, the latest intel on transportation funding bills 

Which states managed to pass new transportation funding? Which states are still negotiating? Which are regrouping to take another crack in the next session? Find out more.

The home of the Indy 500 places a big bet on bus rapid transit

Leaders in Indianapolis see a huge investment in their transit network as a core strategy for economic competitiveness. Find out what they’re planning and how they hope to build the biggest BRT network in the U.S. Read more.

New Resources
Do you drive over structurally deficient bridges? 

You may have used it before, but we just updated our searchable interactive map of structurally deficient bridges with all-new data from USDOT. You can now check the status of bridges in your area with updated data. Enter your zip code and then see the condition of all the bridges within 10 miles. You can click on each bridge and view its condition, the date it was built and the ratings given to it by inspectors. Search your area today and share this useful tool with your friends and family.  Read More.

Articles we're talking about
Ford Plots Dual Course as It Prepares for Driverless Future – Bloomberg Business
Transportation Innovation Academy Aims to Help Indy go Further, Faster on Transit – Inside Indiana Business
Are the country’s booming bikeshare systems serving diverse groups of people? – Washington Post
How Wisconsin Highway Opponents Cried 'Peak Car' (and Won) – CityLab
From the Director's Desk

I spent the better part of last week in Nashville, Tennessee, and came away impressed and inspired.

The Music City is booming, but at the same time approaching their growth challenges in a unique way and holding onto what makes their region special.  The Nashville Area MPO is a national leader in integrating health into transportation plans and projects, the Nashville Chamber of Commerce continues to lead the charge on building out a modern mass transit system, and T4A partners like Conexión Americas are helping incubate immigrant-led small businesses and revitalize an old arterial corridor through rapid transit, bilingual crosswalks and creative placemaking. It’s communities like these that will continue to need a strong federal partner — they are forging their own path to be sure, but they can’t go it alone.

James Corless, Director, T4America

Looking Back, Looking Ahead
  • Become a T4 member today. Transportation for America is on the cutting edge of what’s happening in the world of transportation planning and policy. On the issues that matter to you, members have special access to the insights of our staff and network of experts. Discover the benefits today!
  • MAP-21 extended to July 31. Congress officially passed and the president signed the two-month extension of MAP-21, setting the bill to expire on July 31st, aligning it with the insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund. Read the latest MAP-21 updates on our blog.
  • Senate Appropriations will be next. As mentioned at the top of the newsletter, the House is expected to debate and vote on the yearly transportation appropriations bill. As for the Senate, they are expected to start the process as soon as next week. Stay tuned for more on appropriations.
  • The Local Leaders Policy Forum wrapped up Monday, where over 70 local officials from around the country gathered in Washington, D.C., to exchange strategies and learned from top experts about downtown revitalization, expanding housing choice, and creating healthy neighborhoods.
@T4America tweet of the week

“Selling a city without transit to millennials is like selling a phone without a camera" http://t.co/1g1nhP03gk May 20, 2015

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