New Jersey Future, Tri-State Transportation Campaign Applaud Release of Federal Transportation Funding Bill
Jay Corbalis, New Jersey Future, (609) 393-0008, ext. 110
Veronica Vanterpool, Tri-State Transportation Campaign (212) 268-7474
New Jersey Future Executive Director Peter Kasabach and Tri-State Transportation Campaign Executive Director Kate Slevin today applauded the release of the Surface Transportation Authorization Act of 2009, hailing it as a marked departure from previous transportation funding bills and the first step toward meaningful reform in the way the federal government funds transportation investments
Together with the Transportation for America Campaign, New Jersey Future and the Tri-State Transportation Campaign have been monitoring the bill, introduced by U.S. Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minnesota), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
The bill would increase the investment in public transportation from current levels, and would provide sufficient funds to restore existing highways, bridges and transit facilities to good condition. The bill would also provide increased funding to metropolitan planning organizations, such as the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority, and enable them to link housing, climate, energy and other national priorities to their transportation plans.
“With its extensive network of public transportation and aging highway infrastructure, New Jersey stands to benefit from a federal transportation bill that puts more emphasis on fix-it-first policies and increased investment in transit,” said Tri-State’s Slevin.
“This bill will be critically important not only in funding our transportation needs in the coming years, but in helping to set a policy direction for how we grow and develop our state,” said New Jersey Future’s Kasabach. “Transportation investments and land use often go hand in hand, which is why we are glad to see an emphasis on metropolitan planning linked to land use and other national goals in the bill.”
Slevin and Kasabach noted that while the bill is a positive first step toward much-needed reform of federal transportation policy, it falls short in several key areas. Most glaring is the bill’s failure to establish objectives for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation or increasing the percentage of Americans with access to public transportation, against which federal transportation spending can be judged. Slevin and Kasabach urged passage of a bill introduced by New Jersey Rep. Rush Holt (D-12), which would address these concerns.
Slevin and Kasabach concluded, “New Jersey Future and the Tri-State Transportation Campaign will continue to work with the Transportation for America Campaign to ensure federal transportation reform reduces our dependence on foreign oil, creates low-cost, convenient travel and living options, provides older and disabled citizens with safe transportation choices and helps reduce sprawl and revitalize our traditional cities and towns.”