Green New Deal investments should go towards improving transit and pedestrian conditions on dangerous streets

Governance Policy
April 25, 2019
Transit + the Green New Deal: A Just Transition
Part two in our series about what a Green New Deal for transit should look like.

In the context of transit and transportation reform, a just transition could take a few pages from San Francisco MTA’s equity strategy and apply it on a national scale. Unique among US transit agencies, the SFMTA prioritizes transit improvements in disadvantaged communities, rather than distributing funding equally across the city.

Modeled after FDR’s New Deal, the Green New Deal aims to build political support by promising infrastructure projects in every Congressional district. To ensure that a just transition isn’t sacrificed to political imperatives, an equity framework like the SFMTA’s must be applied to the transportation components of a Green New Deal, prioritizing the frontline communities that have borne the brunt of the pollution and disinvestment imposed by highways, but which may not have the most political capital.

Applying an equity lens to the transportation component of the Green New Deal would correct  America’s historic bias toward road construction, which spews pollutants into communities of color and forces people into car ownership they can’t afford.

Shifting investment toward transit and walking is better for the planet, and will create huge employment opportunities. Running more buses, constructing and repairing more sidewalks, and building more rail lines in dense, walkable neighborhoods can set us on the path toward a more prosperous and sustainable future shared by all Americans.

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